Travel Ideas: Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

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The Ngorongoro Crater Lodge was the perfect compromise between the safari I craved, and the comfort I needed.

Stonehurst Place and SafariThe Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is located in Tanzania on the edge of the world famous World Heritage Site of the Ngorongoro Crater.  Within the crater, the animals have their own migration independent from the rest of Tanzania, which means you have a much higher chance of seeing animals on safari drives.  Surrounding the lodge, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area spans 3,200 square miles, stretching from the Rift Valley to the Serengeti.  I have never seen as many elephants as I did on this journey!  Our keen-eyed game driver spotted so many different animals, and from our vantage point we could enjoy watching them without fear. The safari aspect was truly amazing. The crater had the atmosphere of an exotic and fascinating outdoor zoo. Because the animals are contained in the crater and the drivers are limited to driving on the paths, it was not as adventurous as the other safaris I have made. Yet somehow, despite this limitation, I would consider this one of the most exciting travel adventures I have been on.

Stonehurst Place and SafariAll that excitement pales in comparison to the absolute luxury of the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge itself.  The individual lodges (your suite) are built in the style of the Maasai indigenous to the area, which means they are small and round and generally unexciting from the outside. Yet somehow, the staff at the Crater Lodge managed to make the entire experience amazing. On return from the game drive, the Lodge would have already drawn a hot bath for you, so you coukd get out of the chilly Land Rover and straight into a bathtub with rose petals on top – the ultimate luxury. The bath was almost in the center in the room, which added to the feel of luxury of the experience. I felt like the ambience of the Lodge was the type of luxury I could get used to – fabulously furnished rooms with nice little extras, such as decanters of sherry, chocolates at night before a cosy log fire, and lavish amounts of beautiful red roses to create a warm ambience.

My absolute favorite part of the lodge, however, was how, even though we were on the edge of the crater, we were still in the middle of the jungle. You were escorted everywhere by local tribesmen because it was too dangerous to leave your cabin on your own. The local tribesmen who accompanied you usually wore their traditional garb, as well as western combat boots and a machine gun. At first I found the combination incongruous, but I was eventually comforted by the fact that the Maasi have been protecting their people from the dangers of the crater for centuries.

Shadomy, Stonehurst Place

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“Charming and quiet – right in the heart of Atlanta”

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This is an incredibly charming old home that has been thoughtfully updated to offer all of the modern day amenities you’d expect from 5-star hotel while still maintaining the history of the home itself. We stayed in the master suite and while we knew Lori was just a few steps away to help us out with anything we needed, it still felt very private. The common areas were beautifully decorated and welcoming. I can’t wait to return!

Posted on Hotels.com by Shelley, US on June 19, 2016

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Artists Spotlight: Corita Kent

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Corita Kent's work in the foyer at Stonehurst Place

Corita Kent’s work in the foyer at Stonehurst Place

Corita Kent, a true Revolutionary

Corita Kent is one of the more revolutionary American artists in the second half of the 19th century. She gained attention for her role in the Pop Art Movement, but is more famous among Art Historians for her use of serigraphs, or silkscreens. She was among the first artists to use this technique, bringing the medium into the American tradition of Fine Art.  I am lucky to have two of her original pieces hanging in the entranceway of Stonehurst Place: ‘Cure of the Blind Man‘ and ‘In the Beginning‘.

A fan of Kent’s work since childhood, I didn’t actually add these two pieces two my collection through purchase. My mom, who got them directly from Kent herself, gave these two pieces to me. In 1956, both my parents were graduate students at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).  When my mom’s local church, The Immaculate Heart of Mary, needed substitute teachers, my parents volunteered.  After their time was up, they prepared to leave, only to be approached by Kent.  Then known by her Christian name, Sister Mary Corita, she was a nun at the IHM monastery. She invited my parents into her workshop and encouraged them to each chose one piece of art.

The two painting at Stonehurst Place are thus originals from Kent herself. Quite a provenance! This is actually very rare, since most of her artwork in circulation now are reprints. As you can see in the image, there is a third painting below Kent’s two; that’s a painting by one of her students that Kent included for my parents.

Go ahead, get your own!

'American Sampler' by Corita Kent

‘American Sampler’ by Corita Kent

I love Kent’s work, and I’ve always loved hearing my mom tell this story. Kent’s surrealist art had an incredible impact on the American artistic landscape, and she herself was a fascinating woman. At the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, they held an exhibition of her art in 2015. In their introduction to her, art critics Berry and Duncan talk about her “vibrant, Pop-inspired prints from the 1960s” which “pose philosophical questions about racism, war, poverty, and religion and remain iconic symbols of that period in American history.”

The Corita Art Center in Los Angeles is a wonderful place to explore and learn more about her art.  Kent was known for her bright color palette and many times over the course of her career she used red, white, and blue to deliver her message. One of the most striking examples was Kent’s 1969 piece ‘my country’. In 1976, Kent made several works to commemorate the US Bicentennial. This piece includes the Camus quote “I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice.”  The quote appeared in Camus “Letters to a German Friend,” which was published in 1960’s Resistance, Rebellion, and Death around the time of Camus’ own untimely death at age 46.

To celebrate the Fourth of July, the Corita Art Center is offering this hand signed serigraph from an edition of 150 at a discounted price of $295, carefully packed and shipped with tracking via USPS.  Go ahead, get an original – this one’s a beauty!

Shadomy, Stonehurst Place

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“The Best of the Old and New South!”

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Our bed had fantastic high-count cotton sheets and pillows, and the bathroom was spacious with great water pressure and towels. Coming from New York, the silence of the room was amazing — haven’t had such a great night’s sleep in months! Breakfast specialties included exceptional egg puffs with cheese and herbs, moist flavorful banana nut bread, a great selection of juices, and hot rich coffee. We sat on both the front and back comfortable porches out of the sun where we could read and chat, sipping coffee in the morning and drinks in the afternoon. It was only a ten minute walk to the impressive High Museum of Art, and along the sidewalks between that institution and Stonehurst were several charming restaurants with shaded outdoor seating. Laurie and Paul were excellent hosts — always ready with suggestions for what to see in Atlanta and how to get there. We’re already planning our return to this best representative of both the Old and New South.

Posted on TripAdvisor by ModernTed, New York City, New York on June 7, 2016

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“Hidden Gem In Midtown”

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This is a beautiful historic home in Midtown. The managers were very knowledge of the history and the art and very accommodating during our stay. The location is great. It’s a quick walk to tons of restaurants. The breakfast was delicious. We will be coming back!

Posted on TripAdvisor by Katie O, Atlanta, Georgia on May 23, 2016.

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“Lovely stay in Atlanta”

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We had a lovely stay at Stonehurst Place. As soon as we arrived we were made to feel so welcome and the house is truly beautiful. The interior was fitted out to an immaculate level and we loved that it was a “green” hotel. Also, the two-course breakfast we had was delicious!

Posted on TripAdvisor by Paulodowero on May 16, 2016

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“A true home away from home experience.”

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We absolutely loved our stay at the Stonehurst. From the impeccably appointed rooms, to the warm and caring staff, to the great breakfasts this is now on our list of favourite spots to stay. The house has been beautifully restored with interesting art pieces throughout. There were many spots to sit and have a drink or read a book. Our favourite was the front covered patio followed closely by the back screened in porch.

We stayed in the Eaves suite and found it very comfortable. The beds were excellent and the heated floors in the washroom and multi-head shower were a wonderful luxury.

Lori and Paul took great care of us and had a knack for appearing when we needed something but did not hover or impose. There were always snacks and drinks available. The other guest we met were respectful and very friendly.

We like to eat our way through a trip and there were no shortage of great restaurants within a short walk of the Inn. The Lawrence, Lure, and Savy for a quick sandwich were our favorites.

Posted on TripAdvisor by TravellinTex, Chatham, Ontario on May 9, 2016

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Virgin Atlantic Guide: Atlanta

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Stonehurst Place is recommended in Virgin Atlantic’s new in-flight travel guide of Atlanta

Virgin Atlantic Destination Guide: Atlanta

Virgin Atlantic Destination Guide spotlights top Atlanta accommodation, Stonehurst Place.

Virgin Atlantic creates in-flight videos that act as miniature guidebooks of the cities to which they fly. Their recently released Atlanta video is well worth a watch, and I’m not just saying this because we’re featured in the video!  The piece lists Stonehurst Place as one of Atlanta’s top eco-friendly resorts, and spotlights our wonderful qualities including spacious suites, delicious breakfasts, and stylish interiors.  It also mentions our art collection that includes a spectacular piece by British artist Nina Mae Fowler, that I discussed in a recent blogpost.  The video is set up as a multi-media guidebook, which begins with a brilliant introduction to Atlanta. It describes Atlanta as a rough and sprawling mass of urban greenery that is “an in demand 21st Century City.” Citing Georgia as the gateway to the South, the video goes so far as to describe Atlanta as the “beating heart” of it. Then it quickly runs through Atlanta’s geographic makeup, describing Atlanta’s five boroughs in short soundbites. The video’s cheerful and excited description of Atlanta isn’t without it’s irony, however. The narrator points out that “the city planners took the peach association very seriously” as the camera flicks through some of the 71 street signs in Atlanta with a variant of “Peachtree” in their name.

Honest Advice for a local, authentic Atlanta stay

This travel guide gives not only a brilliant introduction to Atlanta but also honest advice on traveling through Atlanta, pointing out for example that hailing a taxi in Atlanta is unheard of. Instead, Atlantans rely on calling cabs or using Uber. The video then gives tips for non-locals on how they can navigate the city. Moreover, the video shows a wonderful, authentic side of Atlanta. Rather than focusing on the commercial elements of the Georgia state capital, the video focuses on the authentic and local aspects of Atlanta that lends the town a unique flavor. Promoting unique stores that many locals frequent such as The Junkman’s Daughter and Beehive Jewelry Boutiques, the video takes time to focus on the colorful customers by zooming in on their excitement. Moreover, food the video concentrates on really captures the Atlanta flavor. Virgin Atlantic’s recommended restaurants include some of my favorite, such as Fox Bros. BBQ, my go-to for great ribs, and Mary Mac’s Tea Room, serving classic Southern food just blocks from Stonehurst Place — and for me, an Atlanta dining staple since my youth.

Stonehurst Place

Virgin Atlantic in-flight video features Stonehurst Place innkeepers Lori & Paul Worrell.

Stonehurst Place is spotlighted first in this video and we’re thrilled!  The narrator states “a stay at Stonehurst Place is like being given the keys to your very own Midtown home, complete with two innkeepers on hand to ensure you have the best place possible.” Breakfasts are described as “a delight to wake up to, and among the best you will find in the city,” a huge compliment to Stonehurst Place innkeepers Lori and Paul Worrell who truly make breakfast a treat for our guests.

So, whether you’re coming to Atlanta because of a Gone with the Wind exhibit, the trendy nightclubs of Edgewood Avenue or the Atlanta Movie tour, this video has great recommendations for you.  Watch the full version of the ‘Virgin Atlantic Destination Guide: Atlanta’ and you’re sure to get inspiration for your next Atlanta outing!

Shadomy, Stonehurst Place

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