When some people travel, they return home with art to adorn the walls, crystal or pottery to adorn shelves, or books to adorn the coffee table. I, on the other hand, return home with refrigerator magnets. Okay! I do have some crystal and pottery and books along with lots of pamphlets and postcards. But, nowadays, I’m running out of space. So, refrigerator magnets it is!
Oops! I almost forgot, I collect Christmas ornaments, so I do keep my eye out for really special ones. So, ornaments and magnets are on my radar when I’m traveling.
One of the reasons I like refrigerator magnets is that they are seen and enjoyed every day every time I open my fridge. Here are some of my favorites:
For years, on my trips to Bakersfield to see my family, which I did three times a year for many years, I would stop at the Kern County Museum and visit their gift shop as well as the village composed of historic buildings from throughout the county. The village was amazing and one day, just by chance, I saw a house being transported along city streets in very slow motion on the way to the historic village. And I always found something special in the gift shop. I couldn’t resist this magnet, which just fits my sense of humor.
The J. Paul Geddy Museum in the L.A. area is perched high on a hill top. It is easily accessible from a nearby freeway and parking is plentiful. Then you take a tram to the top and have fabulous views of the L.A. area. When I was there, no smog blocked the views. The buildings are stone surrounded by gardens. The whole place is very impressive––outside and the vast amount of art exhibited inside the many buildings. You could spend days and not see everything. I have been there with my sister, Edna, and her ex about a decade ago. Then a few years ago, I visited it again with my friend Theresa Baer who lives in the L.A. area. I got this magnet on my first visit. Both times this painting by Fernand Khnopff titled Jeanne Kefer (detail), 1885, stopped me in my tracks. And I wasn’t the only one. The docent on duty told me that it is one the most popular paintings on display.
Yes, Solvang has windmills. Many of the businesses sport windmills and some others are actually real. Solvang is a tourist attraction, but a delightful tourist attraction. It is built like a fairy tale Danish village with many delightful shops. Theresa and I have been there twice and we would go back in a heartbeat. The Havarti cheese and the chocolate were to die for. We checked out their Elverhoj Museum of History and Art, the Old Mission Santa Ines on the edge of town, and other fascinating and less touristy towns in the Santa Ynez Valley. The visits were great fun, and I have my windmill magnet as a souvenir.
We also went to Barstow, even though everyone wondered why—including the folks working at the Barstow visitor center. They asked where we were headed and were momentarily dumbfounded when we said Barstow. Theresa wanted to get out of L.A. and see the desert, and that is what we did. It was Christmas time and perfect weather. We found many terrific places to eat in town and fabulous places to see such as the NASA Space Museum and the Route 66 Museum both housed in the over-the-top Harvey House train station––all in town. Outside of town, we saw lots of Joshua trees and toured Rainbow Basin one day and spent another day at Calico Ghost Town. I love my cactus magnet from Calico and was upset when the freezer door slammed open, hit the wall, and my magnet broke into three pieces when it hit the floor. Thank goodness for Elmer’s glue.
When my sister and I spent two weeks driving up the Maine coast a few years ago, my goal was to check out their lighthouses and eat lotsa lobster. I accomplished my goals and I have this red, metal magnet to remember how delish the lobster was. The first evening there, we had the classic Maine dinner—whole lobster, corn on the cob, and steamed clams with blueberry pie for dessert. We had had little sleep on the overnight flight and meals had been spotty, so we were very hungry and enjoyed it all.
My sister’s goals were to visit the home and museum of one of her favorite authors––Sarah Orne Jewett––and to stay on one of the many islands off the Maine coast. And we did both of those. The island we stayed on was Vinalhaven––truly a step back in time, and definitely not a tourist trap. We couldn’t get over the friendliness of the people. One of our last days in Maine, we visited Acadia National Park and had the traditional tea and popovers at the Jordan Pond House. This clever teacup magnet caught my eye in the gift shop.
In 2019, my sister and I went to Washington D.C. and saw everything we planned to see and much more. Neither of us had been there before, so we treated it as a once-in-a life-time trip and filled all 16 days with memories. One day, we took a cruise along the Potomac to Mount Vernon. It was exciting to walk around the house where George Washington actually lived. I was amazed that it was not a mansion but a very nice farm house with a couple of special rooms for visiting dignitaries. I couldn’t resist this magnet from the Mount Vernon gift shop.
And, many years ago, on a visit to Florence before moving here, I bought this magnet, not knowing that it would become my favorite bridge of all the McCullough bridges on the coast of Oregon. It holds a place of honor on the fridge.
I do enjoy my magnets. And I’m sure I’ll continue to add more. . . . Maybe I should invest in a larger refrigerator. Hmm!