How you can + can’t use the photos from this blog

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Copyright + Non-copyright Photos on this blog

I love taking photos as part of my travel journal. I love sharing them with you. Please be advised that all the photos you see on this blog are copyright. That means they belong to me + by law you have to contact me if you want to use them somewhere.

You are welcome to use any of my copyrighted content (watermarked or otherwise) on a complimentary basis for test or sample (comp) use only. But it cannot be used in any final materials or any publicly available materials or commercial purposes. I charge a nominal fee if you are absolutely in love with one of my photos + want to use it like that 🙂 In such cases, we will usually correspond about it. It’s then understood that I would ‘release’ them to you with a standard license. Just like on any Stock photo website.

You’ll be happy to know I love photos as much as you + I enjoy the feeling of sharing stuff with people for free. (I know how hard it is to get good stock photos for free)


Austin, Blog, Ghost Walks

Ghost walk in….Austin

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Ghost Tours Austin
Allegedly haunted by the original mistress of the house Alice Littlefield. She is variously reported to have been either insane or possibly agoraphobic, whatever the case, it appears that she rarely left the house in life and it is claimed that her ghost still haunts it to this day. People claim to see and hear her ghost restlessly roaming the upper stories and some claim that she will occasionally play the old piano that is there.

I recently did a ghost tour with Haunted ATX…we went to some of the most haunted spots in Austin – check it out!

A Bit More About The Haunted Sites in Austin

Clay Pit Indian Restaurant

Built by a group of early settlers in 1853 as a trading post. It was a business where white men and Indians could carry on their trading. In 1872, O.R. Bertram purchased the building to house his family as well as his dry goods business. Bertram’s General Store occupied the premises for the next eight years. The first floor continued to be used as a store with the saloon in back. The second floor became the Bertram family residence, with a parlor in front and bedrooms in back.

The building continued to serve as a general store in the 34 years following Bertram’s departure. During the 1880’s the State Treasury was stored in the building’s wine cellar along with barrels of gunpowder, molasses, wine, and whiskey. The wine cellar is famous for its double-arched construction inspired by the medieval castles and monasteries of Europe.

Starting in the 1940’s a series of restaurants occupied the property. The first was the Old Madrid Café, followed by the Old Seville, the Old Toro-all popular hangouts for UT students throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s.
In 1977, the building opened as the Red Tomato Italian restaurant and remained for several years. Currently now known as The Clay Pit. Serving Indian cuisine.

The most frequently reported manifestations are that of the sounds of a party going on in one of the upstairs banquet rooms when no one is in the restaurant. Also, in the 1800’s, Bertram’s five-year-old son died from typhoid fever while quarantined in his upstairs bedroom. It is believed that the tiny child remains in his old home, perhaps not understanding that he passed on.

The Driskill Hotel

The Driskill Hotel, opened on December 20, 1886. It was the second tallest building in Austin for many years, the State Capitol Building being the first. Within four months of the Grand Opening, Jesse Driskill was bankrupt and lost the hotel in a high-stakes poker game to J.M. “Doc” Day. The Driskill Hotel closed its doors in May 1887. . Three years later, Driskill died, flat broke.

The Driskills first ghost is that of Jesse Driskill. He makes his presence known by smoking cigars and turning bathroom lights on and off in several guest rooms on the top floors of the hotel. The daughter of a U.S. Senator haunts the grand staircase leading from the mezzanine down to the lobby. According to hotel lore, the senator was visiting Austin to participate in a political event at the hotel. His unattended four-year-old daughter was playing with a ball near the staircase when she slipped, and fell, and died on the marble floor at the bottom of the stairs. Late at night, the front desk staff has heard the child bouncing the ball down the steps as her giggling echoes through the empty lobby.

Suicide Brides

During the 1940’s a young woman who planned to marry and spend her honeymoon at the hotel met a tragic end by her own hand. After her fiancé canceled the wedding at the last minute, she hanged herself in her rose-filled room. Known as one of the Driskills more active apparitions, many employees and guests have witnessed the sad woman pacing the hallways of the haunted fourth floor traditional side in her wedding dress.

Bride #2 was a Houston socialite engaged to be married in the early 1990’s. When her fiancé had second thoughts and called off the wedding, the young woman took a trip to Austin to recuperate from her shock and depression. She booked Room 29 on the haunted traditional side and went on a weeklong shopping spree with her ex-fiancé’s credit cards. The young woman was last seen coming out of the fourth floor elevator, arms full of bags and packages. Her body was discovered three days later when housekeepers became concerned that she hadn’t left the room to eat. She was found lying in the bathtub, having shot herself in the stomach through a pillow. She is seen most often during October wandering the hallways in a modern wedding gown and with a gun in hand.

“Himalayan Cedar” imported from the Himalayas and planted on the property of Littlefield House
Ghost Tours Austin
Himalayan Cedar Tree imported from the Himalayas and planted on the property of Littlefield House… the most haunted site in Austin
The Driskill Hotel is haunted by multiple ghosts including 2 suicide brides
Ghost Tours Austin
A vault from 1890 – original 
Ghost Tours Austin
Witnesses at The Driskill report hearing sounds of people upstairs when no one is there, and feeling something they can’t see touching their face and arms. Also, apparitions have been seen sitting in chairs or at windows.
The blonde lady in the portrait is said to have been seen around the hotel
The tavern is haunted by two Mexican prostitutes who were murdered there in the 1800s
Ghost Tours Austin
The Clay Pit is said to be haunted, especially the basement. The restaurant was built by a group of early settlers in 1853 as a trading post 
The Haunted ATX hearse arriving at Littlefield house

Haunted trinkets at The Tavern
Our Cadillac hearse on 6th street
A Zoltar machine predicts your future at Pinballz Arcade
“The Tavern” bar has a fortune machine on the upper floor
Blog, Ghost Walks, Newport

Ghost walk in…Newport

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Castle Hill Inn at Night Newport
A spooky scene of The Castle Hill Inn at night! The female ghost who resides here has been seen by several staff members. She is said to be a relative of the original builder, Mr. Agassiz. Witnesses say she occasionally throws china in the pantry.

Even though I’ve done well over 13 ghost walks in the United States, spanning 13 states, I can honestly say I never thought to write about them or share photos from them until now. I began this ghost series a few weeks ago… I wrote about the ghost walk I did in York, which began where Guy Fawkes was born (the famous gunpowder plot conspirator who was hung and quartered in London), as well as ghost walk I did in New York only 3 months later. Now, a ghost walk I did in Newport, Rhode Island – haunted by the spirits from the gilded age….. Here are photos of haunted scenes around Newport and a tour company I recommend!! Have you had any haunted experiences where you live? I’d love to know!



Blog, Newport

10 Fun Facts About Newport, Rhode Island!

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Newport Rhode Island
A picture perfect harbor on our way into Newport

Highlight on Newport, Rhode Island

We spent a few days in the charming, affluent seaside town of Newport in Rhode Island. It’s where many millionaires had their summer homes during the gilded age, including the Vanderbilts! We were in New York for Christmas and decided to drive through Connecticut to get there! I’ve always wanted to see it.
The weather was freezing! But we thoroughly enjoyed every minute. We surrendered to the cold and piled on coats and scarves! Of course we we did the mandatory mansion tour of gilded mansions down Bellevue Avenue, as well as some lighthouse and harbor walks, a ghost walk (of course) and antique shopping… but most especially, I LOVED being in our “Turret Suite” at Castle Hill Inn, a 4-star Forbes Rated Property… Photos below!
Plan your vacation there, now! Nothing like relaxing seaside air and salty walked along the cliff. It remind me of my home town in South Africa.
A visit to The Classic Coast—nine vibrant and historic towns all sharing some seriously prime New England coastline—is both everything you expect and enjoyably unpredictable.

10 Fun Facts About Newport (more…)

Blog, Newport

The Elms Mansion, Newport

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The Elms Mansion, Newport1

The Elms was the summer residence of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Julius Berwind of Philadelphia and New York. Mr. Berwind made his fortune in the coal industry. In 1898, the Berwinds engaged Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer to design a house modeled after the mid-18th century French chateau d’Asnieres (c.1750) outside Paris.

This is last in my travel series throwing back to the Newport Mansions on Bellevue Avenue. Scroll down for pics of this posh palace!

COST: $1.5 Million (more…)

Blog, Newport

Rosecliff Mansion on Bellevue Avenue, Newport

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Rosecliff Mansion, Newport Rhode Island

This week I’ve been writing about various mansions I toured in Newport, Rhode Island, following our trip to New York last Christmas. Newport is only a few hours drive from New York. I found this house a little less opulent than the iconic Vanderbilt mansions “Marble House” and “Breakers” I wrote about earlier this week. But it was interesting and pretty none the less. I spent less time here (around 30 minutes as opposed to 2 hours) and I was sorry there was no cafe. This is the second last mansion we visited, called “Rosecliff”.

COST: $2.5 Million

Commissioned by Nevada silver heiress Theresa Fair Oelrichs in 1899, architect Stanford White modeled Rosecliff after the Grand Trianon, the garden retreat of French kings at Versailles. After the house was completed in 1902, at a reported cost of $2.5 million, Mrs. Oelrichs hosted fabulous entertainments here, including a fairy tale dinner and a party featuring famed magician Harry Houdini.

“Tessie”, as she was known to her friends, was born in Virginia City, Nevada. Her father, James Graham Fair, was an Irish immigrant who made an enormous fortune from Nevada’s Comstock silver lode, one of the richest silver finds in history
During a summer in Newport, Theresa met Hermann Oelrichs playing tennis at the Newport Casino.
They were married in 1890. A year later, they purchased the property known as Rosecliff from the estate of historian and diplomat George Bancroft
An amateur horticulturist, Bancroft grew thousands of roses at Rosecliff and his gardens along the Cliff Walk were famous
The Oelrichs later bought additional property along Bellevue Avenue and commissioned Stanford White to replace the original house with the mansion that became the setting for many of Newport’s most lavish parties.
Rosecliff is now preserved through the generosity of its last private owners, Mr. and Mrs. J. Edgar Monroe, of New Orleans. They gave the house, its furnishings, and an endowment to the Preservation Society in 1971.
The view of the ocean at the Bottom level
Scenes from several films have been shot on location at Rosecliff, including The Great Gatsby, True Lies, Amistad and 27 Dresses.
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Rosecliff Mansion, Newport Rhode Island

Blog, Newport

Marble House, Newport, Part One

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Marble House, Newport
The entrance to the home

Highlight on Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island

This is another original gilded age mansion in the affluent city of Newport, Rhode Island. A lot of prominent families during this time has summer homes here – which they called “Cottages”. I recently wrote about The Breakers in Newport. This is another Vanderbilt residence. It’s photo friendly, $15 for multiple household tours if you buy a package. Expect to spend 1-2 hours here and wear comfortable clothing! There is a gorgeous cafe at this one, overlooking Easton Bay in the North Atlantic Ocean. A Chinese tea house (original from the 1800s) overlooks the ocean and has coffee and snacks. Restrooms available.

Marble House was built between 1888 and 1892 for Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt.  It was a summer house, or “cottage”, as Newporters called them in remembrance of the modest houses of the early 19th century.

Scroll down for more photos in this travel blog on Marble House, part one! Part two, tomorrow!

COST: $11 Million

Gifted to Mrs Vanderbilt as a 39th birthday gift.


Blog, Newport

The Vanderbilt Mansion in Newport, Rhode Island

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The Breakers Newport Rhode Island

Highlight on The Breakers – Newport

The Breakers is the iconic gilded age mansion on Bellevue Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island. It was the Vanderbilt’s home. Expect to spend 1-2 hours there if you really want to take it in. There is an audio tour so no need to worry about reading up on it before. Everyone walks at their own pace in the mansion, there is also wheelchair access and it’s definitely photo friendly. It’s $15 per person winter pass (when we were there), and you can enter and tour as many mansions as you want! I would recommend walking shoes. There is a charming gift shop with Vanderbilt history as well as other trinkets and fiction novels set in the time of the gilded age. We drove up to Newport through Connecticut from New York, to spend a few days in this historical town on the seaside.

COST: $7 Million

The Breakers Stable & Carriage House is located approximately a half-mile west of the house, on Coggeshall Avenue. Completed in 1895, it is 100 feet deep and 150 feet wide, U-shaped with a carriage house in the center.

Scroll down for pictures of this marvelous mansion! (more…)