Category Archives: travel

Eating and Drinking in Scotland

Scotland’s dining scene has evolved thankfully beyond haggis (although it appears on most pub menus) to include hot culinary terms such as eclectic and fusion.   Interiors appear brighter without losing their intimate feel.  Here are a few that we thoroughly enjoyed.

Find a fresh take on traditional Scottish food at WHISKI Bar and Restaurant 119 High Street, Edinburgh.  Using fresh local produce and meats, this eclectic dining spot has over 300 malt whiskies.

Whiski Bar Edinburgh


The Royal Mile’s oldest tavern, The White Horse Bar 266 Canongate, Edinburgh serves up savory beef pies in this airy pub.

The White Horse Bar Edinburgh

The White Horse Bar is also a favorite haunt of Copper the Cannongate Cat

Copper the Cannongate Cat

Up the coast, charming Aberdeen offers many dining options.  The cozy Cafe 52, located on the green in the center of town, boasts a global menu for serious foodies.

Cafe 52 Aberdeen

In Glasgow, we sampled the famous macaroni and cheese at Sloans, the oldest pub in town. 108 Argyle Street, Glasgow

Sloans Bar and Restaurant Glasgow

It my be difficult to select just one wee dram from the hundreds of malt whiskies on display at The Pot Still 154 Hope Street, Glasgow

The Pot Still Glasgow

Take a break from fish an chips at Opium, an Asian fusion oriental restaurant, which features traditional Dim Sum and fusion dishes.  The restaurant’s sleek, modern vibe transports diners to another city. 191 Hope Street, Glasgow

Opium Asian Fusion Glasgow Scotland

Mr. H says: Shared dining fortifies us-Enjoy!

Scottish Castles

With the media attention on their unsuccessful independence vote and the wildly popular Starz TV series Outlander filmed on location at Doune Castle, the Scots are enjoying a bit of a renaissance in their ancient country.

There are thousands of castles dotting the Scottish landscape in various state of use and ruin. On a recent trip to Scotland, we experienced the history and romance of a few Scotland’s architectural treasures first hand.

Dominating Edinburgh’s skyline,  the city’s namesake castle, sits high atop Castle Rock.  Since the 12th Century, a royal residence and stronghold sat on the this site housing notable Scottish monarchs such as Queen Margaret (later St Margaret), who died there in 1093, and Mary Queen of Scots, who gave birth to James VI in the Royal Palace in 1566.  Now a museum and function venue, Edinburgh Castle safeguards the Stone of Destiny, on which kings and queens were enthroned for centuries, along with the Scottish Crown Jewels.

Impression of Edinburgh Castle before the 'Lang Siege' of 1573.jpg
Impression of Edinburgh Castle before the ‘Lang Siege’ of 1573” by Kim Traynor – Scanned from James Grant, Old And New Edinburgh, Cassels 1880.

Edinburgh Castle


Edinburgh Castle

Scottish Crown Jewels

At the other end of the Royal Mile (literally it is a mile) is the active royal residence of Holyrood Palace.  Since the 16th Century the structure has served as the principal residence of the Kings and Queens of Scots and is still in use by Queen Elizabeth for state occasions and official entertaining.  With its ruined 10th Century Abbey to the rear, the existing Baroque palace structure was re-constructed in between 1671 to 1679 which was designed by the architect Sir William Bruce.

Holyrood from Calton Hill by James Valentine. 1878 or earlier..jpg
Holyrood from Calton Hill by James Valentine. 1878 or earlier.” by James Valentine

Holyrood Palace Forecourt fountain

Holyrood Palace Edinburgh

Holyrood Abbey Edinburgh

Holyrood Abbey Scotland

Along the coast, just South of the city of Aberdeen, Scotland sits Dunnottar Castle.  Commanding a sweeping view of the North Sea, this Medieval castle ruin evokes Scotland’s mystical past.  William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots, the Marquis of Montrose and the future King Charles II, all slept there. According to legend, it was at Dunnottar Castle that a small garrison held out against Cromwell’s army for eight months and saved the Scottish Crown Jewels from destruction by lowering them into a boat below the castle.

Dunnottar Castle John Slezer.PNG
Dunnottar Castle John Slezer” by John Slezer – Theatrum Scotiae, 1693.

Dunnottar Castle Scotland

Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar CastleDunnottar Castle Chimney Piece

Mr. H says: There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds-Enjoy!

Remembering Our Heroes

While many of us our looking forward to the upcoming Memorial Day weekend and the official kick off to summer, we often forget just what this coming Monday is really about: To remember the men and women of our armed services who have died in a United States War. Find some of the United States most moving and iconic tributes to our nation’s fallen heroes.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Honoring the men and women who served in the controversial Vietnam War, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial chronologically lists the names of more than 58,000 Americans who gave their lives in service to their country. 

While there are several parts to this memorial site, including “The Three Servicemen” statue and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, the most famous part is simply known as the wall.  The Memorial (wall) was designed by an undergraduate at Yale University, Maya Ying Lin, born in Athens, Ohio in 1959. Her parents fled from China in 1949 when Mao-Tse-tung took control of China,  She acted as a consultant with the architectural firm of Cooper- Lecky Partnership on the construction of the Memorial.

Completed in 1983, The Wall consists of two 246 feet and 9 inches gabbro stone which were sunk into the ground, with earth behind them.   It looms 10 feet high at the apex point and tapers to 8 inches on either end.  This India quarried stone was deliberately chosen because of its reflective quality, so that when a visitor looks upon the wall, his or her reflection can be seen simultaneously with the engraved names, symbolically bringing the past and present together. 

The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

Located in a natural crater, The Punchbowl, consists of military cemetery along with 60 memorial boulders for those that fought in various United States conflicts around the Pacific Ocean.  Although there are various translations of the Punchbowl’s Hawaiian name, “Puowaina,” the most common is “Hill of Sacrifice.”   Continuously expanding since 1949, this vast breath taking site houses the remains of over 13,000 soldiers and sailors who died during World War II alone.

"Punchbowl" National Memorial Cemetery Photo: Danny Lehman

The famously striking grand stone staircase is flanked by the ten marble slabs of the Courts of the Missing which list the names of the 28,788 military personnel who are missing in action or were lost or buried at sea in the Pacific during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.  Designed by the architecture firm, Weihe, Frick, & Kruse, and completed in 1964 this solemn space is watched over by Lady Liberty.

Photo by Jiang

Names on the  Honolulu Memorial Walls

World War II Memorial

Honoring the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the U.S., the more than 400,000 who died, and all who supported the war effort from home it is the only 20th Century event commemorated on the National Mall’s central axis in Washington, DC. Designed by Rhode Island architect, Friedrich St.Florian, this memorial site was created by a team of artisans assembled by Leo A Daly, an international architecture firm.  With St.Florian as the design architect, the eam also included George E. Hartman of Hartman-Cox Architects, landscape architect Oehme van Sweden & Associates, sculptor Ray Kaskey, and stone carver and letterer Nick Benson.

World War II Memorial Washington DC

United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division

The final design consists of fifty-six, 17 foot tall granite pillars arranged in a semicircle around a plaza with two 43 foot triumphal arches on opposite sides. Two-thirds of the 7.4 acre site is landscaping and water. Each pillar is inscribed with the name of one of the 48 US States of 1945, as well as the District of Columbia, the Alaska and Hawaii Terrritories, the Commonwealth of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, American Somoa, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands.  The northern arch is inscribed with “Atlantic” and the southern one,”Pacific”.

Worl War 2 Memorial

USS Arizona Memorial

This unique memorial site is a structure built over the remains of USS Arizona that sunk upon the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

National Park Service

Designed by Honolulu architect, Alfred Preis, who had been detained at Sand Island enemy at the start of the war due to his Austrian birth. The US Navy specified that the memorial be in the shape of a bridge and the architect complied by creating a 184 foot long structure withe two peaks at each in connected by a sag in the center of the structure.  Representing the height of American pride before the war, the sudden depression of a nation after the attack and the rise of American power to new heights after the war.

On the inside, the shrine lists the names of the 1102 men that died in the attack

USS Bowfin Submarine Waterfront Memorial

As the daughter of a 28 year veteran submariner, this site was especially poignant to me. The Waterfront Memorial stands in tribute to the 52 U.S. submarines and more than 3,500 submariners who made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation during World War II. The fifty-two monuments chronicle the wartime career of each of the lost submarines and list the names of the officers and enlisted men who are “on eternal patrol” with their vessels. 

USS Bowfin Waterfront Memorial

The USS Bowfin Waterfront Memorial is the end result of of four years of hard work by a talented team of historians, architects, graphic designers, landscapers and skilled craftspeople.

USS S-28 Submarine Memorial Plaque

It is no surprise that their are countless memorials scattered across the United States including battlefields, monuments, cemeteries and parks and for good reason since a staggering 1,321,612 Million of men and women lost their lives in US conflicts since the founding of our country in 1775.

Mr. H says: Never forget that those that died for their country was someones child, spouse, sibling, relative, friend and coworker.  Let us give thanks to those they left behind.

Herod the Great

While no humanitarian, Herod the Great, reigned as the King of Judea from 37 to 4 BCE.  Aside from being the evil genius of the Judean nation, Herod is known for his ambitious building projects that still exist through out Israel.

The Second Temple

His most famous project, the expansion of the Second Temple was one of the larger construction projects of the 1st Century BCE.  By constructing massive encasement walls and filling them in with dirt, a large trapezoid platform was created for the enlargement of the Temple and its courtyards.

Model of the Second Temple


This 37 to 31 BCE fortress, located on a high plateau overlooking the Dead Sea, featured two magnificent palaces.  The three tiered northern palace with columns and frescoes with stunning views of the sea and the larger mosaic embellished western palace that was most likely used as an administrative building.

Herod the Great Masada

Masada model reconstruction


Believed to house Herod’s tomb, this fortress was built on the summit of a man made, cone shaped mountain. The fortress that was constructed between 23 and 15 BCE, housed a splendidly appointed palace with views of the Judean desert.

Herodium Palestine

Herodium reconstruction

View from Herodium

Caesarea Maritima

The site chosen by King Herod for a new harbor and city is located on a sandy stretch of coast line along the eastern Mediterranean.  Beginning construction in 25 BC, Caesarea Maritima was named for Caesar Augustus, Herod’s Roman patron.

Caesarea Maritime Israel

Caesarea Maritama rendering

Mr. H says: Whatever good things we build end up building us-Enjoy!

Masterful Mosaics

One of the most intriguing and surprisingly intact architectural details found throughout Israel are the mosaics.  Found in both public and private areas, this art form was commonly used to decorate floors and walls.

Mosaic is the art of creating images by arranging together small pieces of stone, glass or other hard material.  Mosaics found in the Mesopotamia date to the second half of 3rd Millennium BC.

Completed in 1982, the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes highlights restored 5th Century mosaics of an earlier church that had been built in 480 CE.  Featuring wetland plants and birds these mosaics are the earliest known examples of figured pavement in Christian art in Israel.

Church of the Multiplication mosaic

The expansive, first century BCE, building project in Caesarea by Herod the Great, is a multi layered site with geometric mosaics found in the Roman gymnasium.

Caesarea bath

Magdala, an important fishing community on the Sea of Galilee, is considered to be the home town of Mary Magdalene.  Recent, extensive excavations have uncovered the ruins of the Third or Second century BCE town and its synagogue, one of the earliest found in the Galilee.

Magdala synagogue floor

Magdala synagogue

Marble mosaic floors in the Catholicon of The Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre date to the Crusader era

Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre

Mr. H says: Each of us represent one little stone, creating the great human mosaic-Enjoy!

Ancient Places, Holy Spaces

In Charleston, and through out the United States, we treasure are 200 year old history and the structures that have survived.   The Middle East however boasts some of the earliest signs of man’s handiwork on planet Earth.  We were thrilled to encounter such places on a recent trip to Israel and Jordan.

The Tomb of Absalom’s construction and first stage of use occured during the 1st Century CE.  The monument is said to house Adsalom, the rebellious son of King David of Israel.  Rising in the background is The Mount of Olives which has been used as a Jewish cemetery for over 3,000 years and holds approximately 150,000 graves.

Tomb of Absalom, Israel

The equally impressive Second Century B.C. Tomb of Benei Hezir and neighboring Tomb of Zechariah has been ascribed a First Century CE construction date

Tomb of Zechariah,  Israel

Dating from possibly the 12th Century,  the Cenacle marks the site where the Last Supper was to have taken place.

Cenacle on Mount Zion

Dedicated in 1910, the Hagia Sion or Abbey of the Dormition, claims to be the spot that the Blessed Virgin Mary ended her worldly existence.


An important Christian pilgrimage site, the circa 1048 Church of the Holy Sepulchre is venerated as this site where Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, buried and resurrected.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre


Church of the Holy Spulchre

The basalt stone ruins of the 3rd century CE Synagogue at Bar’am is in remarkable condition.

Ruins of the Ancient Synagogue at Bar'am

Ruins of the Ancient Synagogue at Bar'am

The amazing sandstone rock carved tombs of Petra, Jordan were possibly begun as early as 312 BCE.  The Nabataean custom of burying their dead and offering worship in half-excavated caves has left us with one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Petra Jordan

Petra Jordan

Mr. H says: In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods, somehow they have not forgotten this-Enjoy!

Chicago Architecture

Chicago’s world famous architecture was on grand display against an azure sky on a recent visit to the Windy City.   Known for its beautiful skyline, Chicago holds a wealth of architectural gems.


The Chicago School architects were innovators in the construction of the world’s first skyscrapers.  Utilizing steel fame construction techniques allowed for buildings to reach soaring heights.  Architects such as Louis Sullivan and Mies van der Rohe are some of the famous Chicago architects that revolutionized modern architectural design.

Chicago Building

IBM building Chicago

A great way to appreciate the city’s wealth of buildings is by boat along the Chicago River

Trump Tower Chicago

Marina City Chicago

75 E. Wacker Chicago

Tribune Tower Chicago

We also enjoyed the sunset and martinis in The Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Building.

Chicago Signature room

Mr. H says: When contemplating Chicago, you feel like an ant-Enjoy!

Friday Five: Gracious Greenville

Our recent visit to Greenville, South Carolina for an ASID Carolinas gala weekend, certainly changed what I thought about this upstate city.  Vibrant,  youthful and completely walkable it is the perfect blend of big city excitement and small town simplicity.

Here are my top five picks on this remarkable Southern city.

1-Main Street Renaissance

Once a four lane, blighted roadway, Greenville’s Main Street is now a beautifully designed, bustling hub for shopping and dining, due to a redevelopment project begun in the 1970s

Greenville SC before redevelopment

Municipal Association of South Carolina

Main Street Greenville South Carolina

2-Repurposed Textile Mills

Known as “The Textile Center of the South”, Greenville’s many mills languished in the 1960s due to the import less expensive goods from overseas.  Many of these immense buildings still sit vacant while some have been developed into housing with many of the unique architectural elements of the building kept intact.

Mills Mill Greenville SC

Mills Mill Condo Greenville

3-Arts and Culture

Whether enjoying a performance at the Peace center, visiting the Greenville County Art Museum, or enjoying the public works around the city, Greenville has the arts and culture covered.


4-Waterfalls in the middle of town

An urban oasis, the Falls Park boasts a wooded valley park containing the falls of the Reedy River

Falls Park on the Reedy River Greenville SC

Diego Delso

5-Innovative Interior Design

Greenville designers take liberty in mixing traditional and contemporary elements, as we saw in the home of Katie Skoloff, ASID.

Katie Skoloff, ASID

In Site Designs

Greenville Interior Design

Katie’s home was the spectacular back drop for an evening cocktail party where we sipped on “Kickin Mules”

Kickin Mule copper mug

Here’s the recipe: In a copper mug filled with ice combine 1 1/2 ounces vodka, 1/2 ounce lime juice and 3 ounces of ginger beer.  Add a lime for garnish and a napkin to mop up condensation.

Mr. H says: We all hope for breakthrough rebirth moments-Enjoy!

Fantastic Frank Lloyd Wright

On a recent trip to Greenville, South Carolina, members of the ASID Carolinas Chapter had the rare privilege of visiting a privately held Frank Lloyd Wright residence.   Designed in 1951 and completed in 1954, the house is a striking example of Wright’s natural or “Usonian” style.  Commissioned by two sisters, Gabrielle and Charlcy Austin, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.


Wright named the property, Broad Margin,  which comes from Thoreau’s Walden in which he states, “I love a broad margin to my life.”  The house is built into the slope of a two acre heavily wooded lot bound by two creeks.  Wright positioned the house so that it would not be visible from the street.  Featuring 12 inch thick concrete walls, a massive roof line, broad overhangs and corner windows, all of which are classic Frank Lloyd Wright architectural elements.

Broad Margin Greenville South Carolina

Cypress wood paneling was used extensively throughout including on the ceiling.

Broad Margin Window Detail

The house has polished Cherokee Red concrete floors with copper tubes, carrying hot water, embedded in the floors to heat the house.  Original built in seating are featured in the sitting area.


The kitchen was updated a few years ago, due to a fire, combining Wright’s aesthetic with modern conveniences.

Broad Margin Kitchen

A massive stone and concrete fireplace dominates the sitting area

Gabrielle and Charlcey Austin House, Broad Margin, Greenville, South Carolina, 1951. Fireplace in living area.

In the dining area, a copy of the original dining table, is on display

Frank Lloyd Wright Greenville

Sleeping and bathing areas are compact

Broad Margin Bedroom

Frank Lloyd Wright South Carolina

This house exemplifies Wright’s appreciation for natural materials, his penchant for open floor plans and his awareness of the natural surroundings.  Blurring the lines between interior and exterior spaces, Broad Margin is a case study for Wright’s declaration that “Shelter should be the essential look of any dwelling.”   Mr. H could not agree more-Enjoy!

Great Ghent

On a recent trip to Virginia we visited friends in the charming Norfolk neighborhood of Ghent.  This historic area is full of stately turn of the Century homes and delightful pocket parks.


Ghent Park

The Ghent area began its development in 1890 with most construction occurring between 1892 and 1907. It is named for the 1814 Treaty of Ghent that ended the War of 1812.

House in Ghent

Ghent Virginia

Due to the age of the community, renovation is ongoing, throughout.

Ghent construction

A lively place, the streets are full of surprises.


Ghent RV

Mr. H says: Don’t buy the house, buy the neighborhood-Enjoy!