Preservation 50 Friday: The Closure of Washington Monument


Miami Design Preservation League poster rallying the community.

The iconic Washington Monument is closed indefinitely to the public due to faulty elevators. The National Park Service stated on Facebook: “Despite the continuing work on the Washington Monument elevator, we have not been able to determine the causes of the ongoing reliability issues. As a result, we have made the difficult decision not to reopen the Washington Monument until we can modernize the elevator control system.”

Despite the 555 foot obelisk towering over the city of Washington, I’m sure it was taken for granted like most landmarks. We see them but don’t see them. We want landmarks available for public use but are unwilling to spend the money and expertise needed to upkeep and preserve them. Hopefully the closing of the monument will draw attention to this other public landmarks.

The Coral Rock House before Restoration

The Coral Rock House before restoration.

Sometimes it takes extreme measures to get public attention. I’ve seen my share of boarded up historic buildings in Miami Beach. But thanks to the public and Miami Design Preservation League I have seen many return to their former glory.

Restored Coral Rock House.

Restored Coral Rock House.

I’m hoping the Washington Monument will reopen sooner than later if the public lets officials know how important this landmark is as a symbol of our nation.

Preservation 50 Friday: The Barefoot Mailman

Barefoot mailman statue

Statue of the Barefoot Mailman, James E. Hamilton.

Visit the Hillsboro Lighthouse on ” Barefoot Mailman Remembrance Day” on October 8. Enjoy a scenic boat ride and learn about James E. Hamilton who gave his life delivering mail.

A statue on the lighthouse grounds honors Hamilton who moved from Kentucky to Florida. He traded being a farmer for a career as a Barefoot Mailman. As often is the case, the grass was not greener in his new career. He went missing during one of his 68 mile routes.

For more information, visit

Sunset Tour at Jupiter Lighthouse

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse.

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse copyright by Elaine Marie Austin.

Enjoy spectacular views and watch the Jupiter Light blaze the night sky. Learn the nuts and bolts of a working lighthouse watchroom. Tour is approx 75 minutes, $15 members, $20 nonmembers, RSVP required. Tours are weather permitting. For details visit or call 561-747-8380.

Why would anyone fly a plane into a building?

Memorial to first responders 9/11.

Memorial in Brooklyn honoring first responders who lost their lives on 9/11.

Memorial dedicated to member of Fire station 226 in Brooklyn.

Memorial dedicated to members of Fire Station 226 in Brooklyn, New York.

Sad when you have to answer questions like this from an eight year old. Not sure I really understand the hatred behind such an act or even want to. So I told my grandson, ” because they wanted to kill people.” This seemed to answer his curiosity. He looked over my shoulder and finished reading the devotion on 9/11.

Explore Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

A view from Altacarry Lighthouse.

An amazing view from Altacarry Lighthouse on Rathlin Island.


Ireland is a land of many treasures. From soaring mountains to friendly and honest people, I am not sure what I like best about Ireland.  The kind people, good food, spectacular sights and affordable prices, make this a must see for the most savvy traveler.  I really can’t say enough good things about my recent visit to Ireland and tour of the Wild Atlantic Way.

I went on John Eagle’s Northern Lighthouse Tour in August. I arrived at Shannon Airport and started my visit in Limerick. I read in travel guides that Limerick was unsafe and was even told by an Irish native that it was a rough town.

Fortunately, I only have only rave reviews of Limerick and good experiences to report. Delicious food and wonderful sights are plentiful in Limerick.

After a pleasant stay in Limerick, John picked us up from the George Limerick Hotel. During the Lighthouse tour, I was able to climb Slieve League Cliffs. The highest cliffs in Ireland. The tour encompassed many sights besides lighthouses.

Fanad Lighthouse.

Fanad Lighthouse.

We visited magical lighthouses, pristine beaches, idyllic islands, magnificent mountains and quaint coastal towns.

Caine Tower Lighthoyse.

Caine Tower Lighthouse.

St. John's Lighthouse.

St. John’s Lighthouse. The only yellow and black lighthouse in Ireland.

Rathlin Island.

A view of the Rathlin Island














Better tickets online when visiting the Book of Kells.

It’s best to purchase tickets online when visiting the Book of Kells.


After the tour, I stayed at Trinity College in Dublin and saw the Book of Kells. The Book of Kells is a medieval manuscript of the four Gospels. It is widely considered Ireland’s finest treasure. My heart was filled with gratitude for seeing this treasure and for visiting such a delightful and beautiful country.