Travel Tuesday: Musical Instrument Museum Review

For Thanksgiving 2017, I pitched (and the family agreed!) to get together in Sedona. All of us flew into Phoenix from the various cities we live in (Portland, LA, Bay Area, Chicago) and so we had some time in Phoenix bookending our time in Sedona. One of the ways we passed the time was the new to us Musical Instrument Museum, aka MIM. There are not many music instrument museums, and most are in Europe.  MIM further prides itself on being representative of global music. It’s definitely worth a visit – let me show you why!
Music Instrument Museum (MIM) Music Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix, with admission you will also receive a headphone with volume control unit for each person in your group. Most exhibits feature a TV with multiple videos cycling for a minute or so, letting you see and hear the musical instrument in action

Built in 2010, MIM offers 15,000 musical instruments and associated objects from nearly 200 countries around the world. After purchasing your admission ticket ($20 1-day or a discounted $30 2-day that you must use the second visit within a week), you will also receive a headphone with volume control unit for each person in your group. Most exhibits features a TV with multiple videos cycling for a minute or so. The videos vary from showing local musicians of a county  performing their native music, often in native dress, sometimes including native dance, to just demonstrating how the instrument was made or how it works. The headphones automatically sync with each of those TVs when you are in proximity to it.
Music Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix, with admission you will also receive a headphone with volume control unit for each person in your group. Most exhibits feature a TV with multiple videos cycling for a minute or so, letting you see and hear the musical instrument in action
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Travel Tuesday: Jelly Belly Factory Tour

My recent visit to San Francisco unfortunately coincided with the Wine Country wildfires, so I had to pivot on some of the excursions I was planning on doing with my mom while my sister was working. Particularly I tried to think of things to do that were indoors to avoid possible poor air quality. One of the destinations that I ended up choosing to take my mom was the Jelly Belly Candy Company, and try out their free Jelly Belly Factory Tour and do some shopping for candies she could take to relatives in Thailand. It was more of a trip for her since she loves candy, but I think I ended up having just as much if not even more fun. It was much cooler then I thought it would be for someone like me that loves the idea of sweets but doesn’t love eating sweets. There’s a lot that go into making a Jelly Belly bean!

Jelly Belly Factory Tour in Fairfield, California, entrance area Jelly Belly Factory Tour in Fairfield, California, cafe area

The location of the Jelly Belly in the Bay Area is out in Fairfield, which is north towards Napa, and also happens to be across the street from an Olive Oil and Vinegar tasting room and also the Budweiser Tasting Room, so you can make this a productive day excursion for the one hour drive. If you’re staying by Napa, consider it to take a break from wine. We only stopped for the Jelly Belly Factory Tour, which I’ll share here.

It’s best to visit on a weekday because then you’ll see the machines working with the people running them, vs when it is not operating on weekends or holidays. Overall, I recommend going to the Jelly Belly Factory Tour because it is cool to learn how the jelly beans are made and prepared for sale, and Jelly Belly really strives for a mix of efficiency with machinery but also relies on people for quality every step of the way. The workers seemed happy – several waved at me and smiled, and I’m not a cute kid on a tour. Though I think the paper hats they require you to wear the whole tour are both silly (so non functional) and cute.

Jelly Belly Factory Tour in Fairfield, California: the rainbow of 50 flavors and more of Jelly Belly Jelly Belly Factory Tour in Fairfield, California: the rainbow of 50 flavors and more of Jelly Belly

I am all for technology and progress I don’t believe it means completely displacing people out of jobs, though it may mean changing the job description to work with the technology. As fascinating as automation is, seeing it paired with people too is heartening – and if you come on a working factory day you’ll be able to watch that interaction.

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Travel Tuesday: Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco

If you have seen my Instagram posts, you know I’m still a little giddy from my visit to the Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco with my mom (who normally lives in in hometown of Chicago) and my sister who lives in San Rafael. Both my sisters and my mom had also visited the Museum of Ice Cream in Los Angeles, but I hadn’t been able to join in, so I was happy to hear that they were opening up a second location of this pop up museum in San Fran.
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, cotton candy
The tickets sold out in a flash but I was super lucky in not only getting into the website but getting the perfect weekend when my mom would be in town and one of a few weekends my sister didn’t already have booked until 2018 (seriously, her schedule…). And, we got tickets for the first entrance at 11 AM (they are timed tickets) which incredibly let our group of the first 12 ticket holders in line be the first into every room and almost felt like a private visit since other groups didn’t catch up to us.
Museum of Ice Cream in San Franciso

If you haven’t heard of the Museum of Ice Cream (or MOIC) before, it started out its initial incarnation in New York, and then closed and opened up in Los Angeles. While the Los Angeles run is still going on in LA after several extensions, a second location in San Francisco also opened, and is the newest incarnation. Each location is a little different, though the theme always includes lots of samples of ice creams and a sprinkle pool. When it comes to each individual room themes and how they are set up and what sweet artwork they feature though, they may vary.
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco

Here’s a look at the rooms in the San Francisco version. Be aware that if you come, you must already have purchased tickets ahead of time (none are available at the door). There is only one restroom area and it’s in the middle of the museum, and when you go through the museums you can only go forward, not back to any rooms you have previously left.
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco

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Travel Tuesday – Jaffa and Tel Aviv in Israel

Last week, I shared how I attended a Pop Up Shabbat dinner. Today, for Travel Tuesday, I wanted to share a few photos from Israel, specifically Tel Aviv, from my last visit there on a 4 day work trip in May. Previously, I have visited Jerusalem which if this is your first visit to Israel, I highly recommend whether or not you are religious. However, in the evening if you want to have multiple activities to do, or if you just love the beach, I recommend you stay in Tel Aviv. That’s why I did on my trip – and on my first couple hours there I did a little walking by the beach on the boardwalks of Jaffa and Tel Aviv in Israel.
Travel Tuesday, walking in Jaffa and Tel Aviv in Israel
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Travel Tuesday: Visiting the Portland Japanese Garden

The Portland Japanese Garden finished a more then $30 million dollar expansion that now includes a Cultural Crossing Village, “castle” wall, and the new Umami cafe offering Japanese tea and snacks. Located in the West Hills of Portland, you can easily combine a visit to the Japanese Garden ($14.95 admission) with a visit to the free International Rose Test Garden as well. Parking is extremely limited and the best bet is to take public transit via the Red or Blue line MAX train to the Washington Park stop (aka, the Zoo) and then take a free Explore Washington Park shuttle to both gardens.

The new Cultural Crossing Village you can see while visiting the Portland Japanese Garden

Here’s a little Travel Tuesday Portland Japanese Garden photo trip to give you a glimpse of what a visit could include.

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