Jefferson's Humble Retreat: Monticello's Garden Pavilion

Discover where Thomas Jefferson’s enjoyed a scenic and peaceful retreat on his Monticello estate in Charlottesville, Virginia. The stately plantation features an extensive vegetable garden carved into the hillside extending out from the house, on which is situated a small glass structure on a beautiful pavilion, where the 3rd U.S. President is said to have enjoyed reading & quiet contemplation. Peggy Cornett, curator of plants at Monticello tells us all about the rich history of Jefferson’s garden and her personal connection to botany. Get a glimpse of Jefferson’s garden pavilion and a unique sense of the man’s greatness and humanity.

Jefferson's Humble Retreat: Monticello's Garden Pavilion

Q & A with Bonnie J Gisel, Curator of LeConte Memorial Lodge in Yosemite National Park

Are you a nature lover? Then you'll find a kindred spirit in Bonnie Gisel, curator of the LeConte Memorial Lodge in Yosemite National Park, author, and John Muir scholar. In this thoughtful Q & A, Bonnie explores the sense of awe and inter-connectedness that Nature inspires, the Divine Order of life, and the importance of having meaningful relationships. Learn about John Muir’s legacy and the impact his life has had on Bonnie.


Q & A with Bonnie J Gisel, Curator of LeConte Memorial Lodge in Yosemite National Park

Salvation Mountain, Leonard Knight's Monumental Labor of Love

Meet Leonard Knight, a Vermont native who moved to California to spread his love of Jesus through art. His Christian cartoon spreads over multiple acres of dunes and keeps on growing. Discover how Knight came to know God, what drove him to create Salvation Mountain, and how he fought for his missionary mountain against all the public backlash.

Salvation Mountain, Leonard Knight's Monumental Labor of Love

Skyline Drive: Almost Heaven

Come on a journey on Skyline Drive, a breath-taking 105-mile road through Shenandoah National Park that traverses the peaks and valleys of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. This road trip is full of scenic overlooks, encounters with nature and the opportunity to reflect on the personal ties we forge with a given landscape. Meet local Claire Comer, a ranger with Shenandoah National Park, who shares her family's historic connection to the Park's pristine and powerful 79.5k acres, and provides you with a snapshot of how the Park came to into existence, as well as insight into some of the key figures who shaped its legacy.

Skyline Drive: Almost Heaven

Arizona’s Sinagua Petroglyphs Inspire Wonder

V-Bar-V Heritage Site is the largest known petroglyph site in the Verde Valley of central Arizona, and one of the best-preserved. The rock art was created by the Sinagua people between the 12th -14th centuries, and it is a catalyst for connecting with their ancient culture, as well as inspiring awe and an awakening about our relationship with the dimension of time. The 1,032 petroglyphs on 13 panels are sure to fire the imagination of any armchair archaeologist or spiritual seeker.

Arizona’s Sinagua Petroglyphs Inspire Wonder

Motif Number 1: Rockport's Heart & Soul

Here's the story behind America's most-painted building, Motif Number One, a red shack located at the end of Bradley Wharf in Rockport, Massachusetts. Originally built in the mid-1800s to store fishing gear, by 1900, the building became a frequent subject of the painters who had begun spending their summers in Rockport. Thanks to artist Lester Hornby, in the 1930s the humble shack acquired the rather imposing name its still known by today: Motif Number 1. Motif Number 1 offers some timeless truths about what it means to be a part of a community. Check out this video and find out why!

Motif Number 1: Rockport's Heart & Soul

Illumination Night shines on Martha’s Vineyard

Hop on the ferry to Martha's Vineyard and head to Oak Bluffs. Follow one of the little alleys off honky-tonk Circuit Avenue to Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting Association. This National Historic Landmark is a series of concentric circles of teeny Victorian gingerbread houses in a rainbow palette. Since 1869, the community has had a tradition of adorning their pastel-painted cottages with Chinese and Japanese lanterns, many of them family heirlooms, in an annual "Illumination Night" festival. Meet residents Ernie, Danielle, Cheryl, Ann & Sallie and learn about the Camp's revival meeting roots, and revel in the camaraderie and colorful ambiance!

Illumination Night shines on Martha’s Vineyard

Cranberry Harvests Yield A Colorful & Delicious Tradition in Massachusetts

Enjoy leaf-peeping in the fall? Consider a new way to see Mother Nature's annual autumn display! Instead of looking up at the changing leaves, look down at the brilliant hues of the cranberry bogs of southeastern Massachusetts! The vivid hues of this crop at harvest time is a spectacular sight--and the history of the fruit's cultivation offers lessons in Yankee ingenuity and cooperation. The Kravitz family of Bridgewater is one of many area multi-generational family farms that offer tours. For more on ways to appreciate the humble cranberry, read on!

Cranberry Harvests Yield A Colorful & Delicious Tradition in Massachusetts

Maine Lobster Boat Captain Julie Eaton on Maritime Life

Captain Julie Eaton is a lobsterman and photographer on Deer Isle, Maine who personifies strength and courage—in ways I hadn’t expected. With disarming openness, she shared with me early in our conversation that a horrific car accident at age 23 had altered the course of her life. In this powerful and inspiring Q & A, Julie shares powerful lessons in humility, good humor and starting over—as well enlightenment on what life is like on the water, what some of the factors are that influence the price of lobster, and a fisherman’s view of global warming. Julie calls herself a photography "addict"--see coastal Maine as she does through her images and experiences!

Maine Lobster Boat Captain Julie Eaton on Maritime Life

Maine Sculptor Peter Beerits on the Power of Ideas & Transformation

Do you believe art is transformative? Deer Isle, Maine sculptor Peter Beerits embodies the power of art as a catalyst to be true to ourselves, transform the past, find our place in the world, be heard, trust Life to unfold as it is meant to, and hold sacred the ideals that matter to us. And, oh yeah, he's created an amazing installation spanning acres that is populated by figures made of cast-off materials ranging from pieces of a pickup truck to a bed frame to a bilge pump. In this Q & A with Peter, he shares his personal journey as an artist, and what life is like on Deer Isle, which is located in Penobscot Bay and is the second largest of Maine’s coastal islands.

Maine Sculptor Peter Beerits on the Power of Ideas & Transformation

The Soul Queen of New Orleans Irma Thomas on Gospel Music & the Gifts of Growing Up

Irma Thomas is known as the "Soul Queen of New Orleans." In 2007, she won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album for "After the Rain," her first Grammy in a career spanning over 50 years. In this powerful and inspiring Q & A, Irma shares her love of her hometown Nawlins and Gospel music, and reveals her surprising start in the music business, the impact of Katrina, and what it was like to be the Queen of the Krewe du Vieux during Carnival. Irma's down-to-earth candor, humor, humility, depth and warmth are refreshing, inspiring and very powerful.

The Soul Queen of New Orleans Irma Thomas on Gospel Music & the Gifts of Growing Up

Lafayette Cemetery # 1 in New Orleans a Fertile Ground for Life Lessons

New Orleans is beloved for its music, food and distinctly flamboyant flair. So, perhaps its not surprising that the city has a quirky tourist attraction--its cemeteries! Having been built on a swamp, these "cities of the dead" feature ornate crypts and mausoleums and are a fascinating record of local history. Take a tour of Lafayette Cemetery # 1 in the Garden District with local Sarah, who offers a primer on unique New Orleans' traditions like the ‘second line'. BCD found Lafayette Cemetery # 1 to be unexpectedly fertile ground for fresh ways to look at life. Read on for fresh insight on how New Orleans celebrates & inspires individuality. 

Lafayette Cemetery # 1 in New Orleans a Fertile Ground for Life Lessons