Chuck Berry and Blueberry Hill

Chuck Berry, rock and roll legend also known as "The Father of Rock and Roll", was born in St. Louis and still lives in a suburb of St. Louis today. He and the St. Louis landmark restaurant and music club, Blueberry Hill, have a strong connection going back many years.

Chuck Berry has been performing at Blueberry Hill for the past twelve years. He celebrated his 80th birthday there with a special standing-room only concert. And at the age of 83, he still performs a concert there one Wednesday a month. His concerts sell out, so buy tickets in advance.

Blueberry Hill is a perfect place to visit if you are a rock and roll fan. Located in the historic Delmar Loop area, there are shops and galleries to explore and the St. Louis "Walk of Fame" with stars of famous St. Louisans dotting the sidewalk. You can start your afternoon exploring the area and end off the evening with a casual dinner at Blueberry Hill.

When you enter the club, you are enveloped with rock and roll and pop-culture nostalgia. The walls are covered with memorabilia from Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley, pop-culture memorabilia, and vintage jukeboxes.

The food is casual, but delicious. Some of the Blueberry Hill specialties are the famous St. Louis Toasted Ravioli appetizers, chicken wings, and hamburgers. Waiters are friendly and can tell you about Chuck Berry's next concert date.

The next time you visit St. Louis, check out Blueberry Hill and the Delmar Loop.  If you are lucky, you can even catch a memorable Chuck Berry performance.  You can learn more about the Delmar Loop area here.

Memories of Paris

Paris - we visited Paris a few summers ago. It was like a surreal dream, ancient mingling with avant-garde, beauty everywhere. Some of my favorite memories are from that visit, and included a very special evening in which we visited my French penpal and her family and had dinner at her house. When you go to Paris, two must-sees are La Conciergerie and Giverny which is about forty-seven miles outside the city.

La Conciergerie, which dates back to Roman times, was built as a Roman fort, torn down and rebuilt as a castle around 1300 A.D., and was used as a prison to hold artistocrats and royalty during the French Revolution before they were guillotined. On the Conciergerie tour, we were able to walk through the prison up and down the ancient stone steps and view the prison cells. The cell where Marie Antoinette lived during her captivity has been recreated. The feeling of past history was overwhelming there.

Giverny, the beautiful home and garden of Monet is about forty-seven miles outside of Paris.

Giverny is a magical place, worthy of spending a full day exploring there. The best time to visit, of course, is the summer. In June or July, you can fully experience the magnificence of the garden. The garden is full of color, with flowers spilling out onto the paths. And across the road is Monet's famous water garden. The dream-like lusciousness is breathtaking.

Monet's simple, but exquisite house, has a pink exterior with green shutters. Ivy vines climb over the walls. His love of color extends from the garden to the house exterior and continues inside with each room painted a different striking color.

There is an lovely blog written by one of Giverny's guides that you may like to check out, Giverny Impression.

Next Time You Visit Bartlesville II- Price Tower


Price Tower is the tallest actualized skyscraper designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  (He designed one other vertical structure, the S.C. Johnson Wax Research Tower.)   You will find it in the seemingly unlikely town of Bartlesville, Oklahoma.  However, a little digging into the history of Bartlesville shows that Bartlesville was a town that developed because of the oil industry in Oklahoma.  It was home to wealthy oil barons  and their wealth is reflected in the several examples of architecture by well-known architects.  Price Tower was  commissioned  by H. C. Price, founder of H. C. Price Company, an oil and gas pipeline company.


The design of Price Tower is based on a tree, but is a geometric, stylized design.  Frank Lloyd Wright himself called it, "the tree that escaped the crowded forest."  It has a center core with the actual floors, triangular shapes, coming out from the center like branches of a tree.  The outer color is pale beige concrete and green copper.  It has the appearance of a very stylized pine tree (squint your eyes and use your imagination) and is quite an amazing sight rising up from the town.

Price Tower is a fascinating place to visit.  Viewing the unique exterior is exciting in itself, but there are also interesting tours of the building that take you through some floors of the building where you visit  the office of H. C. Price and an apartment with original built-in furniture and wall designs.  During the tour you learn about  the design and history of the building.  You also learn biographical information on  H. C. Price, and Frank Lloyd Wright.  Frank Lloyd Wright's use of built-ins and wall and ceiling design including embossed wall panels in the  interior give the building a cohesive design.  The beautiful two-floor apartment has a very stylized look with built-in furniture and bas-relief designs on the walls.

Price Tower - built-in chairs in interior hallway

Price Tower ceiling in interior hallway

You can see vintage photos of Price Tower including two photos of an original furnished apartment here.

Price Tower was conceived as a multipurpose building which would include corporate offices, retail space, and apartments.  In keeping  with the original purpose of the building, there is now a museum gallery  on the first floor.  When we visited Price Tower, the exhibit showing there was 3-logy Triennial 2008: Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things. The exhibit included work by international contemporary artists who used junk and found materials to create their art.  There were two  fascinating 3-dimensional mosaics that were large portraits.  When you walked up close to the portraits, the images faded and you saw old toys and pieces of junk attached to the canvas in an interesting design.  When you walked back and viewed the mosaics from a distance, you could see the portraits.  Another appealing work was a grouping of large jellyfish made from bubblewrap.  You can read more about the exhibit here.

Next time you are in the vacinity of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, I recommend visiting Price Tower for an interesting exploration of a unique Frank Lloyd Wright building and a wonderful museum gallery.

To see more on what to visit in Bartlesville, please check out the previous post, "Next Time You Visit Bartlesville I- Woolaroc".


Next Time You Visit Bartlesville I- Woolaroc

My husband's parents are now living in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma (a Tulsa suburb).  When we visited in December, my father-in-law suggested visiting Woolaroc in Bartlesville - about an hour's drive north.


Woolaroc was the weekend retreat of Frank Phillips, founder of Phillips Petroleum. It sits on the outskirts of Bartlesville, Oklahoma.  Established in 1925, Woolaroc consists of a 3,700 acre wildlife preserve, a fascinating museum of western and Native American art and artifacts, Phillips' rustic weekend lodge, a family mausoleum, "two living history areas" and a nature trail.

The wildlife preserve which surrounds the Woolaroc Museum and lodge is home to both native and exotic animal species.  It has a stark, rugged beauty   -   the dominant color of the landscape in late December was a burnt orange.  Driving the long, narrow road through the preserve, we saw buffalo, several species of elk and deer, goats, and ostriches.

Some of the animals were fenced in specific areas.  Others, like the buffalo (or American Bison) seemed to have free roaming range, including the preserve roads.


In addition to the beauty of Woolaroc, the history of the estate is quite interesting.  Frank Phillips used the estate as a retreat and guest house spending a lot of time there and entertaining many guests there on a regular basis.  His guests included friends, business associates, local Native American tribe leaders, and even gangsters.  The comfortable, rustic style of the lodge helped guests feel at home, and helped Phillips close many business deals.  To feed his many guests, he had the large dining room in the lodge laid out like a cafeteria rather than a formal dining room.

The lodge is a large log cabin style consisting of a big living room and a dining room that looks more like a cafeteria on the first floor, and eight bedrooms on the second floor.

Although Phillips wasn't a hunter, his lodge walls are covered with animal taxidermy heads ranging from deer and buffalo to zebra, giraffes, lions, elephants, and crocodiles. Apparently Phillips collected animals, including exotic game, for his wildlife preserve. Animals that couldn't adapt and died were preserved and used for the animal heads.

Woolaroc Museum is a large two-story museum that contains the personal collection of Frank Phillips.  And it does appear to be more a personal collection than a carefully indexed and edited museum.  Phillips' collection was later increased by donations made by members of the Phillips family.

The museum contains primarily western and Native American paintings, sculpture, and artifacts including pottery, bead work, hatchets, and clothing.   There are works by several prominent Western artists including Frederick Remington and Charles M. Russell.  Scattered through the museum are sculptures of pioneer women.  My daughter and I found this exhibit  dating from a 1927 contest very compelling.  The museum also houses a small doll collection and a huge collection of Colt weapons.

At the end of the day as we were leaving Woolaroc, we saw herds of bison all walking back toward the direction of the lodge.  They walked determinedly towards "home" in a long, scattered group. They crossed back and forth across the road and even walked along the road.   When we passed by groups of the bison, we were so close to them, we could have reached out the car windows and touched them.


Post Script:  A fun place to have lunch when you visit Bartlesville is Dink's Pit Bar-B-Que on Frank Phillips Blvd.  It has a homey feel with  poster size copies of vintage area photos, friendly waitresses, and good barbecued beef sandwiches.  If you go, try out the  jalapeno poppers. :-)