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Living on a Yacht: A Mobile Ocean Front Home

In the era of beach houses and multiple homes, a vacation getaway was not only a fun thing to have, but a viable investment.  Now, however, with challenging markets,  many of us multiple residence owners can  feel tied down and stuck at times.  When those  who are inveterate adventurers start  feeling ‘trapped’ what do they want to do?  Escape!  So began our  journey into the world of boating and the realization that there is a new breed of boater out there in the world: one that views a boat or yacht as a home, not just as a recreational activity.
Both John and I had an amazing weekend on a Grand Banks 57 on Santa Cruz island about two and a half years ago; we had won the trip at a Heal the Ocean auction.   Paul and Dawn Noury own Le Grand Bleu  yacht charters, http://www.santabarbarayachtcharters.com/, and we had such an amazing time on their boat, that we started thinking…’Hmmmm, this is not a bad lifestyle, come to think of it, and a mobile oceanfront home is not a bad idea’.
See: SantaBarbaradiggs.com for a great article about Paul and Dawn. Continue Reading…

Luxurious African Wildlife Eco Adventures

Africa Adventure Consultants is a boutique safari operator organizing luxury to basic adventures throughout East and Southern Africa, with destinations including Tanzania, Kenya, Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Victoria Falls.  Adventure Consultants applies first-hand knowledge when planning safaris combining attention to sustainable travel and lightening the footprint we leave on the African continent. authentic adventures,cultural safaris,beach holidays,africa,jane goodall,globally gorgeous,tamara wallop,maienza wilson globally gorgeous,luxury safaris,wow boyz,group tours,kilimanjaro climbs,hiking,romance,honeymoon,kids,photography,photo safaris,family safaris,family vacations,wildlife safari,east africa,southern africa,africa adventure consultants,game viewing,baotswana,eco luxury eco travel,sustainable travel,eco adventures eco resorts,kenya,malawi,naibia,rwanda,tanzania,uganda,zambia,south africa,kent redding,chimp adventure,luxury lodging,cultural tours,kayaking,lion research camp,camel rides,horeseback riding,canoeing,game drives,gorillas,travel green

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John and Gregg had the pleasure of visiting Jane Goodall at Gombe where she has been doing research for nearly 40 years and are planning to back to Africa as soon as they can. They are definitely interested in a more sustainable sort of travel experience on their next safari. Meeting Jane in Gombe was an incredible experience for them, so much so that they decided to host a fundraiser dinner at their home in Montecito to introduce their friends and colleagues to Jane and the work of the Jane Goodall Institute.

authentic adventures,cultural safaris,beach holidays,africa,jane goodall,globally gorgeous,tamara wallop,maienza wilson globally gorgeous,luxury safaris,wow boyz,group tours,kilimanjaro climbs,hiking,romance,honeymoon,kids,photography,photo safaris,family safaris,family vacations,wildlife safari,east africa,southern africa,africa adventure consultants,game viewing,baotswana,eco luxury eco travel,sustainable travel,eco adventures eco resorts,kenya,malawi,naibia,rwanda,tanzania,uganda,zambia,south africa,kent redding,chimp adventure,luxury lodging,cultural tours,kayaking,lion research camp,camel rides,horeseback riding,canoeing,game drives,gorillas,travel green

Continue Reading…

LIVING LIKE MOVIE STARS: HEARST CASTLE


John and I were the lucky guests of a good friend of ours who is quite the philanthropist. She  recently gave a  generous donation to Planned Parenthood , which resulted in a private tour of Hearst Castle  followed by a swim in the Neptune Pool and Roman Pool at the Castle!

Hearst Castle is part fantasy, part folly.  Its fanciful towers dance up a hillside above San Simeon–a palace perched on a most unlikely site. www.hearstcastle.org Its eccentric and energetic founder and creator, William Randolph Hearst, was a powerful businessman and  icon of the early 20th century.
Photo Credit: Claire Turner
Hearst’s taste for art was developed on a trip to the Louvre in the 1870’s as a child, where he asked his wealthy mom, Phoebe, if she would buy the museum for him!  That was the beginning of a lifetime of collecting art and creating venues for his ever-expanding collection.  From the sublime to the bizarre, the collection amassed and stored at Hearst Castle is truly impressive.


It seems  implausible that someone as prolific a collector and builder could actually do any other work in their lifetime, but the Hearst media empire was one of the largest of the media conglomerates of the 20th century, spanning film to newspapers.


Hearst castle, the 100,000 square foot self-sustaining city that was erected in the 1920s on this hilltop,  was a favorite camping spot of the Hearst family when WR was a child.  Hearst contracted with the amazing Julia Morgan
, a muse and architect of great accomplishment, to create the magnificent folly at San Simeon he called his “ranch.”

Today, Hearst Castle happens to be the most visited state park in the California State Park system, but the stories that one could imagine occurring on that hillside in the 1920s and 1930s with every luminary from Winston Churchill to Louis B Mayer, from Mary Pickford to Errol Flynn, must have been magic!  It seems that through actress,  Marion Davies,’ longterm relationship with both  WR Hearst and “the bottle,” spirits were limited to 2 cocktails per day during ones stay at the “ranch.”  Like most things in Hearst’s life, everything was tightly controlled.

Our swim was followed by a private dinner for 6 poolside in the Roman Baths.  To have access to the seldom-visited areas of the Castle where no tours go, and to access  archives filled with volumes of  original plans, notes and artifacts that filled this museum of a home, was a treat.


Our tour was guided by the director and curator of the collection. We were shown the archive vault where all of the correspondence and architectural drawings between Julia Morgan and Mr. Hearst are safely stored. It was fascinating to witness the “intellectual affair” these two were having over the design and construction of Hearst Castle.
Photo: Claire Turner
John’s jumping into the Roman Pool from the beautiful dive platform was an experience.  But, the best part of the day was to share it with friends and to have the house all to ourselves, just we six, taking  a step back in time.  Here we were, living like movie stars! Thank you Cyndee!


Miho Museum by I.M. Pei Harmonic with Nature in Japan

A few years back Gregg and I went to Kyoto Japan to buy Ikebana Baskets for a show we were curating at our Gallery in Santa Barbara. While there, even though we didn’t have much time we made time to visit the Miho Museum. Off the beaten track, for sure, but so well worth the effort. The Museum is Southeast of Kyoto near the town of Shigaraki, in Shiga Prefecture. The Museum house the private collection of Mihoko Koyama the heiress to the Toyobo Textile business. The museum is named for her.
Miho Museum, LERA, I.M. Pei, architecture, design, Louvre, Kyoto, Japan, John Maienza, Gregg, Gregg Wilson, Maienza-Wilson, Ikebana Basket, Shangri-La,<br /> Structural engineering, luxury travel, travel, eco luxury travel
I.M. Pei the Architect that Mihoko Koyama commissioned to design the museum referred to it as “Shangri-La” Evidently because hi design for the approach to the museum involves a long walkway on a bridge across a gorge and then through a tunnel through the hilly landscape. When one emerges out of the tunnel “you have arrived in “Shangri-La“.
Miho Museum, LERA, I.M. Pei, architecture, design, Louvre, Kyoto, Japan, John Maienza, Gregg, Gregg Wilson, Maienza-Wilson, Ikebana Basket, Shangri-La,<br /> Structural engineering, luxury travel, travel, eco luxury travel
Miho Museum, LERA, I.M. Pei, architecture, design, Louvre, Kyoto, Japan, John Maienza, Gregg, Gregg Wilson, Maienza-Wilson, Ikebana Basket, Shangri-La,<br /> Structural engineering, luxury travel, travel, eco luxury travel
Pei used the same French Limestone he used at his Louvre Pyramid in Paris. The structural engineers were LERA. Leslie E. Robertson Assoc. 75% of the museum’s structure was built into the excavated mountain top. The earth was re filled over the structure essentially making most of the museum underground. The effect is that the forested hills are embracing the museum and that the whole environment is harmonious with nature.

 

Miho Museum, LERA, I.M. Pei, architecture, design, Louvre, Kyoto, Japan, John Maienza, Gregg, Gregg Wilson, Maienza-Wilson, Ikebana Basket, Shangri-La,<br /> Structural engineering, luxury travel, travel, eco luxury travel
Miho Museum, LERA, I.M. Pei, architecture, design, Louvre, Kyoto, Japan, John Maienza, Gregg, Gregg Wilson, Maienza-Wilson, Ikebana Basket, Shangri-La,<br /> Structural engineering, luxury travel, travel, eco luxury travel
Miho Museum, LERA, I.M. Pei, architecture, design, Louvre, Kyoto, Japan, John Maienza, Gregg, Gregg Wilson, Maienza-Wilson, Ikebana Basket, Shangri-La,<br /> Structural engineering, luxury travel, travel, eco luxury travel


Dornier Seastar : Amphibious Flying “Boat”

The Flying Boat returns! Dornier’s Seastar CD2 is a fully certified all composite twin engine amphibious Seaplane. It is the first new design for an amphibious plane in 50 years and developed by a company that has been the leader in the aero-marine industry since the early 20th century.
 The Seastar is an FAA- and EASA-certified amphibian capable of landing on runways or water. A true seaplane that easily handles fresh or salt-water swells up to two and a half feet, the Seastar and its all-composite construction is virtually impervious to corrosion. Its powered by two reliable Pratt & Whitney PT6 turboprop engines that give it a high cruising speed of 180 ktas. The in-line design of the twin-engines provides an additional measure of safety during operation. Dornier’s Image Gallery.  Image above from Airliners.net.

New Year Fireworks Around the World – Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year. May 2010 be so much better than this past year. Here are some images of celebrations throughout the World. We will update this post with current fireworks displays for 2010 beginning with Sydney who goes all out every time as being one of the first celebrants of the New Year. Usher on 2010!    By the way did you know that Fireworks were invented accidentally 2000 years ago by a chinese cook during the Song Dynasty and were fires used for New Years Celebrations to scare away evil spirits!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eu3WMylhFY]
Sydney Australlia the 1st to go!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AG1RSxKk3YU]

Taipei on Tallest Building in the World!
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQYdQHDQOws]

Hong Kong!
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDjxJ96Y_LY]

Dubai!
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwIFykEb5bU]

London!
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_h4ibL4ZH4]

New York City

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdTRaso6wLo]
Honolulu!


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