On Anderson Cooper 360° last week, there was a brief video of a elephant painting a picture in Thailand as part of a show geared towards tourists. I wonder if this is a new trick? When I was in Chiang Mai a few years back, we went to Mae Taeng Elephant Park on a tour that included elephant, ox-cart and raft rides. I don’t recall the painting demo. I do recall one elephant putting a foot on a tourist who was face down on the ground and thought, “That’s brave.” The painting looks quite tame in comparison. This video was shot at the Thai Elephant Conservation Center, also near Chiang Mai.
In two weekends when I’m off having my solo, small, spontaneous adventure in Los Angeles, there is another event at the opposite side of the U.S. This one looks like it would make for a perfect, spontaneous trip as well. Newport, Rhode Island was once the playground of the over the top, filthy rich during the Guilded Age. This is when fortunes were being made in steel, coal, railroad expansion, silver–all the stuff that made a few folks gobs and gobs of money– folks that had a real knack for building gorgeous, palace-like domiciles to show off their high culture tastes.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Vanderbilts–(The most famous family member these days is perhaps Anderson Cooper who is the son of Gloria Vanderbilt) The two Vanderbilt mansions in Newport are now part of the Preservation Society of Newport County. The society also operates the nine other Newport Mansions that date from the Colonial Period through the Guilded Age (250 years). The properties, including former Vanderbilt holdings, are open to tours.
At the Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival, you can attend the Grand Tasting on the lawn of Marble House, go to a wine gala celebration at Rosecliff and dine at a restaurant that is part of this wine event. Chef Jacques Pepin is part of the occasion and there are a variety of options depending on your time and your budget. By the way, Marble House was built by Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt between 1888 and 1892.