Exploring The Abstract Murals Of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“Art should not be segregated in museums; it needs to live free among us”- Isaiah Zagar

While most travelers to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, spend time exploring rich history, colonial architecture and delicious cheese steaks, there’s another facet to the city worth getting to know: its detailed murals.

Walking down the streets of the city, it will immediately become clear Philly has a creative side. One major reason for this is the existence of the Mural Arts Program, which “unites artists and communities through a collaborative process, rooted in the traditions of mural-making, to create art that transforms public spaces and individual lives.” One of their most successful projects is the “Mural Mile,” which showcases Philadelphia’s most iconic murals along a walking route in the downtown area. Additionally, they put on a “Restorative Justice Program,” which incorporates the concept of justice into the art process and gives inmates, juvenile delinquents and ex-offenders a chance to do something good in the community. My favorite way to explore mural work in Philly, however, is through the work of local artist Isaiah Zagar.

%Gallery-167758%Isaiah Zagar’s work can be found on more than 120 public walls in Philadelphia. At 19, he discovered the world of art in outdoor environments, and was inspired. After receiving a B.A. in Painting & Graphics from Pratt Institute in New York City and completing the Peace Corps in Peru, he went back to his home city and settled down on South Street. From here, he turned the area into his own outdoor mural museum, and opened one of the most creative spaces in Philly, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (PMG).

Open seven days a week, this creative and colorful space features gallery-style rooms as well as an outdoor mural mosaic labyrinth. It’s a place where the community can access and interpret the artist’s mosaic art and public murals. The works are bizarre creations from Zagar’s fantasies, with poems, bottles, cycle tires, paintings, glass and more. Along with putting on creative programming, like mosaic workshops and music and mosaic concerts, PMG incorporates the work of other locals artists into their exhibits and murals for a collaborative experience. The labyrinth is the most exciting part, as you walk through narrow tiled halls, down shiny steps and abstract twists and turns to immerse yourself in a world of avant-garde mosaic art.

For a more visual idea of Isaiah Zagar’s mosaic murals at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, check out the gallery above. Click here to see a map of where else you can find Zagar’s work on the streets of Philly.

[All images via Jessie on a Journey]

An Inside Look At The Old TWA Terminal At JFK

In 2012, it’s hard to imagine catching a flight as anything but a routine, frequently dehumanizing process – waiting in long security lines, bad food and cramped terminals conspire to make our flying experience less than enjoyable. This wasn’t always the case – back in the 1960s, flying was considered a glamorous, cutting edge industry, and the design of the airports matched that perception.

A great example of this is long-ago closed TWA Terminal at New York’s JFK Airport. Opened in 1962 and designed by visionary architect Eero Saarinen, the building’s soaring departures lobby, sleek waiting lounges and polished interior beckon travelers towards an optimistic golden age of travel that was just getting started. Today, that terminal lies tantalizing out of reach, a designated National Historic Landmark that rests unused and waiting directly in front of JetBlue’s massive new Terminal 5.

Earlier this weekend, Gadling traveled out to JFK as part of Open House New York to take a sneak peek inside the now-shuttered terminal of TWA to get a taste of what air travel used to be like. Want to see what the glory days of air travel looked like for travelers? Take a peek inside the gallery below.


Grouse Mountain, An Adventurous Option In Vancouver, Canada

Although Vancouver is a metropolitan city, it’s also a coastal seaport and home to mountain peaks and natural attractions. While many know the city for its sustainable restaurants, trendy nightlife and cultural fare, Vancouver also has options for the adventurous traveler, especially at Grouse Mountain.

Grouse is a mountain of the North Shore Mountains of the Pacific Ranges. The first recorded hikers summited the 4,100-foot mountain in October 1894, which at the time took three or four days. That was before Grouse became a hub of organized adventure activities and Vancouver’s most visited attraction.

While I’d known about hiking the excruciatingly steep “Grouse Grind” and had heard about paragliding, skiing and snowboarding opportunities, I was unaware they had a zipline. On my last visit, I tried it for myself. The five-line, double-track circuit was an excellent way to explore the beauty of the mountain while getting my heart rate up. While the first section is easy and gets you used to the experience, the second zips you at rapid speed over Blue Grouse Lake.

%Gallery-166362%To get to the higher sections, we had to take a chairlift, giving another opportunity to see the peaks, forests and canyons of Grouse. The last two lines are the scariest, reaching 200 feet in height and 50 miles per hour. My group was so high in the clouds; it actually felt like we were flying into an abyss.

At the end, you can visit the Eye of the Wind, a 1.5-megawatt turbine and the first wind turbine in North America to be built at such an extreme height. You’ll be able to go to the top – 214 feet in the air and less than 10 feet from the spinning blades – and enjoy 360 degree views of the mountains and surroundings.

Additionally, don’t forget to checkout the Lumberjack Show. While I wasn’t sure what to expect, it was hilarious. You’ll see Willie McGee from Blue Mountain and Johnny Nelson from Green River crack jokes while battling each other to see who is the best at log rolling, scaling 60-foot trees unharnessed, sculpture carving, axe throwing, springboard chopping and speed sawing. There is also a twist at the end that I won’t spoil, but actually seemed so real I had to close my eyes. Ironically, I have no trouble propelling myself above the trees, but get frightened sitting through a family-friendly show. The free event takes place daily at 12 P.M., 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Ziplining prices range from $70 to $109, depending on what package you choose. For a more visual idea of adventures on Grouse Mountain, check out the gallery above.

[Image above via Jessie on a Journey; Gallery images via Jessie on a Journey, Jeremiah John McBride, Marcin Chandy, www.metaphoricalplatapus.com, Sam DCruz, Shutterstock.com]

A Day In Vancouver’s Stanley Park

In Vancouver, Canada, there are many beautiful places to spend the day – the Seawall, Coal Harbour, English Bay; however, Stanley Park, Vancouver’s oldest and largest park, allows you to experience all these and more.

Composed of 404.9 hectares, Stanley Park officially opened on September 27, 1888, as Vancouver’s first official “green space.” It’s one of the largest in the world, even bigger than New York‘s Central Park. Half a million trees cover the area, and visitors can spend hours strolling through cedars, hemlocks and firs.

Additionally, you’ll see an array of beautiful landmarks, as it’s possible to walk from Coal Harbour along the Seawall to English Bay Beach. Along with beaches and harbor views, you can ride an old-fashioned train, visit the park’s aquarium, take in public art, monuments and landmarks and inhale the scent of fresh flowers. Furthermore, the most popular attraction in British Columbia is located in Stanley Park’s Brockton Point in the form of nine totem poles, representative of B.C. First Nations artistry.

For a more visual idea of Stanley Park, check out the gallery below. If you plan on visiting, click here for a printable walking map.


[Image above via Jessie on a Journey; Gallery images via Steve Rosset, Denis Kuvaev, Shutterstock.com , Jessie on a Journey]

Holistic Culture: Berber Remedies In Morocco

When visiting Morocco, you have the opportunity to learn about ancient remedies and Berber apothecary by visiting a Berber pharmacy. The indigenous Berber people have been honing their herbal healing methods for centuries and even though modern medicine is widely available, Moroccans swear by these cures.

Many of the pharmacies located in the souks of cities such as Fez and Marrakech are run by families and the business is passed down through the generations. The pharmacy stocks the herbs and spices above as well as items such as weight loss tea blends, saffron to increase blood flow and calm nerves, cumin to aid in digestion and even “herbal Viagra.” To give you an idea of what to expect, here are some popular Berber remedies.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is effective in reducing fevers, fighting bacteria, and breaking down phlegm, all while improving the immune system. One remedy for a sore throat is to sip on a mixture of warm water and cayenne pepper. If phlegm is more of the issue, gargle and spit out the water mixture instead of swallowing. For those who need a little sweetness, season tea with lemon or honey and add a teaspoon of cayenne.

%Gallery-162948%Nigella Sativa

Nigella sativa, or black cumin seeds, are another popular Moroccan folk remedy. As an anti-inflammatory, these seeds stimulate the immune system by increasing the white blood cell count during infection to help fight unwanted pathogens. Moroccans will wrap the seeds in a thin cloth and after rubbing the seeds together, inhale six to eight times to clear sinuses, dissolve headaches and combat snoring. When powdered, the seeds can be mixed with honey and taken with a spoon.

Argan Oil

To silence a cough, Moroccans will massage a mixture of Moroccan argan oil and olive oil onto the neck and wrap it with a scarf.

Green Tea With Mint Leaves

Green tea infused with fresh mint leaves is a popular drink in Morocco that cures sickness. This warm beverage soothes the throat while treating fever, nausea and indigestion. The combination of mint and green tea give the body extra antioxidants.


Medicinally, ginger is an anti-inflammatory that reduces phlegm, fights unwanted bacteria, enhances the immune system, reduces fever and relieves nausea. The oils from the root have soothing properties that ease digestion when the common cold makes it difficult to eat. Because some ginger can be spicy, ingesting it causes the body to warm, which helps against the beginnings of a cold and the chills.


Cumin is one of the most common spices used in Moroccan cooking and can be found in almost all types of tajines. Originally from India, cumin is easy to digest and has the ability to relieve pain and diarrhea. It is also known to be an appetite enhancer. Cumin is kept on most tables in Morocco, similar to how Americans keep salt and pepper readily available.


While saffron enhances any tajine and is used in some desserts and teas, it is also believed to increase appetite, aid digestion, calm nerves and increase blood flow. Saffron is indigenous to the town of Taliouine where local saffron cooperatives exist. Berber communities use the bright orange spice as a natural dye for clothes and carpets, in make-up and as a perfume for the body and hair. Luckily, a little bit of this spice goes a long way, as it is the most expensive spice on the market.

[Image above via jsemidey26; Gallery images via Shutterstock]