Monday, October 4, 2021

Happy Trails

After 14 years of Museum Trekking, I've decided that this is the right time for my final post. Like most of you, I've refrained from traveling to remain healthy and slow the spread of COVID-19. During this time, many museums have had to shut their doors permanently which has made writing about museums and traveling very difficult.

Once fully vaccinated, I booked a trip requiring air travel for the first time in two years. I decided to do something different and special for my final post and so I put together a little video to say farewell. 

We flew to Las Vegas, Nevada where we rented a funky campervan called "The Flat Foot" from Escape Campervans. Then we drove to Utah and camped at Zion National Park for a couple of days before heading over to Bryce Canyon National Park. After camping in Zion, we drove down to Arizona and camped at Grand Canyon National Park. Most museums were closed except for a few that we went to at the Grand Canyon. However, the National Parks and campsites were busy as most people, including me, are preferring to stay outdoors where it is safer for the time being. It was so nice to get some fresh air and a change of scenery after being hunkered down at home for so long.

Thank you to everyone who has followed me around this wonderful world for the past 14 years. It has been an amazing journey. While this may be my final blog post, I still plan to carry on Museum Trekking and I hope you will too! If you'd like to continue following along on my adventures please find me on Instagram @kimwnolan

Happy Trails!


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Genius & Generosity-The Elliott Story

A new exhibit for a new year! During the summer and fall of 2020, I was hired to design, Genius & Generosity-The Elliott Story, a new permanent exhibit for the Elliott Museum located in Stuart, Florida.

The Elliott Story Museum exhibition at the Elliott Museum

I partnered with Paul Orselli Workshop (POW!) and we worked with the museum's Curator, Linda Geary, to design and develop the content for this exhibition.

The Elliott Story Museum exhibition at the Elliott Museum

This exhibit about the museum's namesake, Sterling Elliott, is a tribute to his life as an inventor, social reformer, and the successful business empire which he built with his son, Harmon Elliott.

A Tribute To Genius and Generosity-The Elliott Story exhibition at the Elliott Museum

The exhibit follows Sterling's inventing life from the 1800s to the early 20th century. His invention of the steering knuckle for his quadricycle revolutionized the automobile industry and made him extremely wealthy. 

A Tribute To Genius and Generosity-The Elliott Story exhibition at the Elliott Museum

His improvements to the design of the harness racing sulky resulted in the champion driver, Budd Doble, racing the Elliott sulky to a new world record in 1892. 

A Tribute To Genius and Generosity-The Elliott Story exhibition at the Elliott Museum

Not only did his bicycle inventions make cycling safer, but they improved the lives of women and African Americans. The Sterling Bicycle Company made bicycles designed specifically for women when other bicycle manufacturers believed women should not be allowed to ride bicycles. Elliott used his role as President of the League of American Wheelmen to fight and gain the right for African Americans to compete in cycling races. This lead Marshall Taylor to become the first African American World champion cyclist in 1899.

A Tribute To Genius and Generosity-The Elliott Story exhibition at the Elliott Museum

The Elliott Addressing Machine Company came about when Sterling purchased The Bicycling World magazine and became editor of LAW Good Roads magazine. Sterling's invention of the addressing machine was a brilliant solution to the time-consuming problem of addressing the magazines to each subscriber by hand.

A Tribute To Genius and Generosity-The Elliott Story exhibition at the Elliott Museum

Together, Sterling and Harmon Elliott filed over 200 patents for their inventions. The Elliott Museum was built by Harmon Elliott in 1961 in memory of his father. Harmon donated the museum and its collections to the non-profit Historical Society of Martin County which operates both the Elliott Museum and the House of Refuge.

A Tribute To Genius and Generosity-The Elliott Story exhibition at the Elliott Museum

The pandemic posed some unique challenges for us with materials being in short supply as well as personnel. The indefatigable staff at the Elliott Museum rolled up their sleeves to help finish the exhibit. Even the museum's Financial Manager, Vikki Tobiasz, and Special Events Coordinator, Deb Banta, pitched in to help with the installation. I'm very proud of what we all managed to accomplish despite some of the obstacles we faced. 

The Elliott Museum is located at 825 NE Ocean Blvd in Stuart, Florida. It's open to the public 7 days a week from 10 am until 5 pm. The 50,000 sq. ft. building offers plenty of space to safely social distance while enjoying the exhibits. We hope you will visit soon and let us know what you think of our new exhibit.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Portfolios-Eclectic Artists and Art at the Elliott

This is the last week to check out the art exhibit at the Elliott Museum.

Portfolios-Eclectic Artists and Art at the Elliott features art in a variety of mediums and styles. 
This invitational exhibit showcases the paintings, photography, jewelry, and sculpture of myself and 13 other local artists.
Located at 825 N.E. Ocean Blvd on Hutchinson Island in Stuart, Florida, the Elliott Museum offers 50,000 sq. feet of socially distanced exhibit enjoyment!

This fabulous exhibit ends on January 3rd, 2021.


Monday, November 30, 2020

Covid-safe activities for the whole family

Covid-safe activities for the whole family

Like many people these days, I've been avoiding unnecessary travel for fear of contracting or unwittingly spreading Covid. Many museums have shut down temporarily and some permanently so I've had to find creative ways to feed my travel and museum addiction.  

Oxbow Eco Center
I don't want to travel by plane so I've been keeping my trips within driving distance and I've been limiting my activities to outdoor venues like the Oxbox-Eco Center (I wrote a separate post about the Oxbow Eco-Center which you can read here)

Port Saint Lucie Botanical Gardens

and the Port Saint Lucie Botanical Gardens, which is free and open to the public 7 days a week.

Port Saint Lucie Riverwalk Boardwalk

The city has recently finished the 1,300-ft Riverwalk Boardwalk extension from Bridge Plaza to the Botanical Gardens. Residents can use the Riverwalk to walk, jog, or fish on the St. Lucie River and there is a floating dock with a kayak/canoe launch as well. The good news for pedestrians is that plans are in place to connect the existing Riverwalk at Veterans Park to the new 1,300-ft section so you'll be able to walk from the Botanical Gardens and under the bridge to Veterans Park without having to walk through the busy intersection on Port Saint Lucie Boulevard.

The Famous Tiny Houseboat

A couple months ago, my husband and I went on a short road trip up to Sanford, Florida for our anniversary and had a staycation on The Famous Tiny Houseboat. The houseboat was fun and relaxing and the perfect place to social distance. You can read more about The Famous Tiny Houseboat here.

Hillsborough River

This past weekend we took another road trip to the west coast of Florida and rented a cute little cottage on Airbnb again. 

View of Hillsborough River
Porch View of the Hillsborough River.

It was located in the quiet and peaceful neighborhood of Old Seminole Heights with our back porch right on the Hillsborough River. With just a 5-minute drive to downtown Tampa, we had the best of both the city and country. 

Canoeing on the Hillsborough River
Our kind hosts generously allowed us to monopolize their canoe every day. 

Canoeing on the Hillsborough River

We paddled up and down all day and couldn't get enough of this gorgeous river.

Sparkman Wharf Tampa Florida

Sparkman Wharf is an outdoor entertainment destination on the waterfront with a dining garden, Biergarten, recreational lawn, and live music.

Sparkman Wharf Tampa Florida
Foodtruck-style restaurants built out of shipping containers offer a variety of take-away cuisines. 

Sparkman Wharf Tampa Florida

Tables, sofas, and swings are spaced a minimum of 6-feet apart for safe yet intimate dining.

Armature Works Tampa Florida

Armature Works is a mixed-use event space with restaurants, an upscale food court, bar, rooftop lounge, and indoor/outdoor seating located in the historic Tampa Heights neighborhood.

Inside Armature Works Tampa Florida
Open-air seating inside Armature Works.

Giant checkers at Armature Works

The area is family and pet-friendly with ample seating, tables, astroturf, and games.

Hillsborough Riverwalk Tampa Florida
You can grab a water taxi, rent a stand-up paddleboard, or go for a bike or stroll along the Hillsborough River. The Tampa Riverwalk includes Waterworks Park which has a playground and splash pad for the kiddos and a dog park for our furry friends. 

Waterfront at Tampa Armature Works
The weather was perfect for sitting outdoors along the waterfront and enjoying the live music performance. 

Drive-in movie theater at Tampa Armature Works
Armature Works also offers drive-in movies at 7:30 and 10:00 pm every night for $22 per car. 

This is a short video I shot of one of our canoeing adventures on the Hillsborough River. With the weather cooling down to more comfortable temperatures here in Florida, now is a great time to explore all the fun and healthy outdoor activities Florida has to offer!

Monday, October 5, 2020

Elliott's Portfolio of Eclectic Art

I was honored to be asked to participate in an invitation-only art exhibit at the Elliott Museum. Four of my paintings have been selected for the upcoming show, Elliott's Portfolio of Eclectic Art. 

The opening reception is October 15th from 5:30-7:30 and the exhibition will be up through January 3rd, 2021.

I was also pleasantly surprised to open my email this morning and discover that my artwork had been featured in the Historical Society of Martin County newsletter. Thank you HSMC!

An Update from the President & CEO
Good Day everyone,

“Without art, the crudeness of the world would make life unbearable.”
- George Bernard Shaw

We could all do with a steady stream of art in our lives about now…eh? Enjoying art up close and in person can be a wildly uplifting experience to anyone with a mind that is open even a crack. Throughout most of 2020, we have all been bombarded with challenges and messaging that effectively take away our ability to live in a world of beauty and wonder. We would like to invite you to plan a visit to the Elliott Museum soon to escape the drudgery and despair to a much happier space.

The Bulldog Breed British Bikes exhibit just loaded out of our Flex Gallery, and after some repairs and a coat of fresh paint on the walls, we will be loading in an exciting new Art Exhibit. I won’t spoil the surprise today, but I will assure you that the exhibit will be memorable and something few people have had the chance to enjoy. As ever, keep your eye on our website ( for details about the opening. You absolutely never know what is next at the Elliott Museum!

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
- Thomas Merton

I was recently introduced to the term “disaster fatigue.” It is fair to say that it is a genuine phenomenon, and most of us are probably suffering from some level of it. There is no vaccine for it, and the traditional treatments involving pharmaceuticals and alcohol are ultimately not always the most effective way to treat it. Separating ourselves from the unending pressures of this tumultuous year and taking a moment to remember to be grateful for all the great things in our life is a miracle cure. As Thomas Merton reminds us, spending some quality time immersed in art can be incredibly therapeutic. The trick is to quiet your mind as you are standing in front of a piece of art that speaks to you, and allow your thoughts to stay within the boundaries of the canvas.
The artwork of Kim Nolan, who is one of the featured artists in the Elliott Museum's next exhibit.
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when we grow up.” - Pablo Picasso

Art is for the ages and for all ages. All of us at the Historical Society of Martin County offer a heartfelt invitation to the young and old alike to pay a visit to our museum and tune into what we hope will become a lifelong habit for you. Teaching your children or grandchildren to appreciate art is a gift that lasts a lifetime. Art simply cannot be contained. No matter your location, vocation, or station in life, art remains accessible to you. Please feel welcome to immerse yourself in one of our gallery spaces and stay as long as you like. Bask in the creative talent that seems limitless…in a sea of limitations.
Enjoy art every day of your life!

“The highest form of art is making people happy. (My daily affirmation!)
- P.T. Barnum

Be unbridled and playful,
Rob Steele
President & CEO
Historical Society of Martin County

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The Famous Tiny Houseboat

My husband and I were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary and were looking for a relaxing getaway. We also wanted to avoid air travel during the pandemic so I was thrilled to discover the Famous Tiny Houseboat on Airbnb just a two-hour drive away. 

It earned the name, "Famous Tiny Houseboat" when it was featured on the HGTV television show, Tiny House Hunters. 

We've stayed in a lot of weird and interesting places all over the world but this was our first time staying on a houseboat. I was extremely excited about this trip especially since we've gone so long without being able to travel due to the pandemic.

This adorable floating house is in the perfect location. Located in the Monroe Harbour Marina in Sanford, Florida, it's just a short two-block walk to Historic Downtown Sanford. I liked that it was in the center of everything but also in a very quiet location.

Historic Downtown Sanford is a quaint and charming little town packed with bars, restaurants, art galleries, vintage shops, and performing arts theaters. 

A free trolley will shuttle you up and down the cobblestone streets or you can rent a golf cart, bicycle, or scooter. 

If you're a sporty person like me, you can go for a run or a bike ride along the pedestrian-friendly Riverwalk Trail. If you feel like relaxing, you can take in the view of Lake Monroe while sitting on one of the Riverwalk's fun bench swings. 

We took advantage of our prime location and brought our stand-up paddleboards with us and explored about 3 miles of the 15-square mile Lake Monroe. If you want a day out on the lake that requires less physical activity, boat rentals are also available.

The houseboat exceeded my expectations. It was clean, spacious, and had everything we needed, including a kitchen with a full-sized refrigerator and a dishwasher.

Measuring 500-square feet, it was twice the size of the average hotel room. We lived in a cottage in Hawaii for two years that was the same size as the houseboat so it didn't feel tiny to us at all. 
 It was nicely decorated and the living room even had a record player and a fireplace. 

The house also had Wifi and a small workspace. 

Though I can't say I'd be too motivated to do much work with this gorgeous view.

Unlike most tiny houses, you could easily stand up in the upstairs sleeping loft.

It even had a walk-in closet that was large enough to fit seating so you could relax and read a book or watch the boats passing by outside the tiny window. 

 This houseboat experience was unique, relaxing, and really fun. I fell in love with the Famous Tiny Houseboat and the city of Sanford. I would definitely do it again and my only wish is that we could've stayed longer.