Mayagüez, Puerto Rico | Architectural Gem of the West

Mayagüez is a living time capsule for the early 1900’s, specifically the Art Deco style architecture from the 1920’s. Blending the modern elements of Art Deco and the traditional Spanish architecture makes Mayagüez so uniquely special.
This self guided walking tour of the old city center is the perfect way to explore and enjoy the architectural gems.

Mayagüez, Puerto Rico is an architectural gem and absolutely worth a visit. Beyond the architecture, Mayagüez boasts incredible restaurants, small town charm, and incredible ocean views.

Founded on September 18, 1760, Mayagüez started with humble beginnings first as a simple Spanish town, then elevated to status of villa, and now it is the 8th largest population municipality of Puerto Rico. It is affectionately referred to as the Capital of the West.

Colon Plaza City Center in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
Colon Plaza City Center in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico

While not my first visit, I was able to spend several days in the oldest part of the city. The highlight of this visit for me is touring the various styles of architecture, especially impressive is that most of these buildings are within a 2 block radius. It is fascinating how much there is to see simply walking around.

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Visit Casa Roig Museum in Humacao, Puerto Rico

Casa Roig is more than a museum, it is a glimpse into the life of a wealthy sugar plantation owner, an architectural first in the region, restoration in progress, as well as a lovely exhibit hall for local artists.Casa Roig Museum in Humacao Puerto Rico

Sugar production shaped the Caribbean culture in many ways including wealth distribution and overall agriculture.  Casa Roig is a unique Prairie House style architecture build by renowned Czechoslovakian architect Antonin Nechodoma in the Frank Lloyd Wright influenced style of building.  This house was unique to the region and would appear modern, futuristic even compared to the local buildings at the time.

Located in the heart of Humacao, Puerto Rico, Museo Casa Roig is hidden on a small street.  A street that I have hurriedly driven down, not noticing this delightful two story former plantation owner’s home now restored and converted into a museum and art gallery. Continue reading “Visit Casa Roig Museum in Humacao, Puerto Rico”

Museum of Art Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is known for amazing beaches and a variety of rum drinks, including the famous Pina Colada.  What about Art?  Today, I set out to explore the art scene in Puerto Rico, starting with the capital of San Juan.2016 CenterBellaArt3

My first stop was the Centro de Bellas Artes de Puerto Rico.  The building is surrounded by outdoor sculptures, murals, and paintings (FREE Activity).  Early morning is the best time to visit, it is quiet, cool, and empty.  I had the entire plaza to myself, with The Muses.  These eight bronze female life-size sculptures are dedicated to the types of arts and culture found within the center; music, theater, literature, dance, films (my favorite pictured below), architecture, sculpture, and painting.  Inside are three main concert and theater halls for plays, ballet, operas, symphony, concerts, and festivals.  With a bit of planning, a performance here may be in my future.

The Muses
The Muses

Joined by Brenda from Traveleira, we ate a delicious brunch nearby, then walked to the Museo de Art de Puerto Rico, home to an eclectic assortment of local art.  The docents (gallery workers) are polite, multilingual, knowledgeable, and passionate about the art.   There are some beautiful, and thought provoking pieces which the docents are eager to discuss and admire with you.  Paintings, sculpture, contemporary pop-art, modern art, impressionism, and more are represented in the gallery.  With such a variety of styles, there are pieces that I immediately connected with and others that are not to my liking.  The building itself is a simple design in a bright, whitewash surrounded by palm trees.  The same air conditioners and humidifiers that protect the art, also are a cool refreshing break in the heat of the day.  The cost of admission is very reasonable at $6 for an adult, with student, children, seniors, and other discounts. Continue reading “Museum of Art Puerto Rico”

Orpheum Theater Phoenix

Orpheum Theater
Orpheum Theater

My favorite, and the most luxurious theater in Phoenix is the Orpheum Theater in downtown Phoenix.

Home to performances from the Phoenix Theater League, comedians, and high quality shows. Capacity is less than 1400 seats, which means there really are no bad seats.  Even mediocre views are easily avoided by skipping the last 10 rows lower level or last 5 rows on the balcony.Orpheum stage

Originally opened in 1929 in the Spanish Baroque architecture style, the 1997 restoration gave the theater amazing acoustics and modern lighting while keeping the Roaring 20’s class.  The theater itself is beautiful, with new details inside and out to be discovered during every visit.

Orpheum balcony seating from lower level
Orpheum lower level seating looking up to the balcony

The seat rows are a smidge close (not as much leg room as Phoenix Symphony Hall).  Seats on the interior aisle are a great option for taller people or anyone needing a little more room.

Orpheum lobbyBeverage bars serving wine, coffee, and light snacks are open before and during intermission for performances. The bathroom lines tend to be short and fast moving.  Every comfort is provided in the Orpheum.  The ground level lobby is small, venture downstairs to the lower level bar (not always open), large area for mingling, and restrooms.

Orpheum seating

Performances at the Orpheum are a great excuse for date night, family afternoon matinees, girls’ night out, and more.  Incorporate one of the nearby restaurants for the perfect dinner and a show event.

orpheum

The Book of Mormon Musical

The Book of Mormon musical is on tour and finally in Phoenix!

A comedy musical written by the South Park (Trey Parker and Matt Stone) guys in collaboration with the song-writer (Robert Lopez) responsible for Frozen’s “Let It Go”, the Book of Mormon musical is irreverent, campy, cheeky, and wildly entertaining with songs that are catchy as Hell!  Since opening in 2011, this show has won many awards and sat at the top of my Wish List for performances, it surpassed my expectations!Gammage_BOM

The story begins in the Missionary Training Center with the opening song “Hello” that was also the 2012 Tony Awards opening act.  After completing training, the missionaries receive their location and companion assignments for the next 2 years.  Our leading missionaries, (Elder Price and Elder Cunningham) are assigned to Africa, which prompts a heavy sprinkling of Lion King jokes and references throughout the performance. Continue reading “The Book of Mormon Musical”