Gem-Fest 2023: My Favorite Things

Gem-Fest 2023: My Favorite Things

Many memories were made this year, but I had multiple standout favorite moments, besides just the time together; biking around with Buds to all the different places, playing Telestrations with an assorted group of folks on the last afternoon, and the Morse Museum.

Off the wizards go...

On the day other folks headed to Universal Studios, Buds and biked to tour a Buddhist temple area that Yessa had discovered when investigating things to do in Orlando. It was an easy bike from the house, and we went early enough to not mind wandering around outside.

A pair of dragons greet you.
Such an interesting set of buildings to find tucked away in a typical Orlando neighborhood.
The monk in saffron robes using a gas-powered leaf blower was disconcerting.
One of several beautiful signs we saw.
The one building we went in.
A spirit of calm and reverence enveloped the space.
The Ubosot- the holiest prayer room.

We learned to not point our feet directly toward Buddha or the monks in prayer/meditation out of respect.

After this excursion, we biked home to gather up the folks who were going to the Morse Museum with us.

Grateful to have an outing that would be air conditioned!

Our visit to the museum began with viewing this video below.

We were all pleased to learn that the museum is named for a Vermonter; Charles Hosmer Morse. It was founded by his daughter, Jeannette Genius McKean and her husband Hugh McKean.

The video set me up for a fantastic experience as it showed pictures of this couple who looked so devoted to each other and who had a firm belief that all people should have access to beauty and art. A privileged view of the world for sure, but they literally poured their money and art into sharing beauty with the world.

I was entranced from the very beginning.

From the stained glass to the landscapes, the still life, this museum was magical to me.

As we all wandered around, taking our time to enjoy the parts that most interested us, Buster and I were walking together and I told him how frequently in museums I want to be able to touch the items. So many of them are begging to be touched to see if they are smooth, cool, supple; does the feel of them match the look of them.

Don't you want to touch the billows of her robe?

Soon after this conversation, Buster and Yessa came to find me to show me an exciting discovery.

A "Please touch!" display.

Yes, I will!
We all wanted a chance to touch the different types of glass.
We're always on the lookout for dragonflies.
Yessa loved this room of sketches.
Again the idea of creating beauty.
The museum was not at all crowded so we could wander, laugh, and chat at will.
Landscapes and this style were amongst Buster's favorites.
The power and beauty of these pieces.

 I could post picture after picture of the beautiful stained glass, but there was also a whole section of the museum relegated to talking about Laurelton Hall, the Tiffany mansion/art sanctuary that burned.

This chapel was designed for the Chicago World's Fair, and eventually ended up at Laurelton Hall.

The chapel was awe-inspiring, and then you wandered into a side room to see the baptismal font.

Then you turn to leave the chapel and notice the stunning art above the door.

I'm tearing up as I write this because it was so beautiful. All of it.

My museum partners were getting bored so they headed to the gift shop while I drank in as much of the beauty as I could.

As I wandered alone in the Laurelton Hall section of the museum, I rounded a corner and stepped in front of this art.

I gasped and teared up at the beauty of it.

I know that pictures aren't able to convey the power behind these pieces. And words as my tool are insufficient to give you the sense of awe that made me put a hand to my heart to hold in an overwhelming rush of emotion.

The original Tiffany art work that was the basis for the stained glass above can be seen here.

I wanted to remember every intricate detail of  "Maiden feeding flamingoes in the court of a Roman house."

The shimmer of the water and the effect of the fountain.

That was my favorite piece, but there were so many more to love.

This is one of my favorite museums I have ever been in. I do not see us returning to Orlando anytime soon, but this is worth a visit anytime anyone goes.

The Morse Museum was where we were wandering when Yessa came up to me and said, "Mom, I love to see you and Buster at museums like this. You disappear into the art in a way I don't."

That led to the discussion that Buddie highlights in this blog post. I love learning how we each view the world in different, unique ways. Though it's sometimes overwhelming and exhausting, feeling the world so deeply, days like the one spent at the Morse Museum make it totally worthwhile.

After our time here, we went to the East End Market, a cute local food/art spot that Aunt A discovered. We had a delicious lunch here.

That's a crispy vegan chik sandwich, friends.

To round out the delight, we got to pick up Uncle Z and one of the cousins who had decided they were ready to leave the heat of Universal Studios behind. Buddie's mom very kindly settled in on the floor so our van for 7 could be a van for 8 for the ride home.

What a soul-filling day.

LOOK at that purple!!