Category Archives: Travel

ep 15: Travel

In this episode I talk about the philosophy of travel and how travel changes as you change. In different stages of your life travel brings different meanings. And there is an additional benefit to travel that nobody ever talks about.

Every Friday at noon Eastern Standard Time Will posts a new episode of the Friday Fish and Chips Podcast.

This podcast was originally posted as a youtube video.

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Cardboard and Tudor houses

I have been working on a cardboard project. It’s a dollhouse in a tudor style. It’s a nice project and a lot of fun. (That project is on my youtube channel here if you would like to see it)

Anyway, I have a friend over in the UK named Stephen and he went for a walk and took some pictures of Tudor buildings. These are around New street and Friar street in Worcester.

All the lines are crooked and the buildings all lean forward. And don’t get me started on how amazing the glass windows on the upper floors are. The buildings just have a wonderful hand-built feel to them. No mass manufactured cookie cutter stuff here.

Aren’t they amazing?

Just think about the fact that these buildings are probably older than America.

I have been thinking a lot about going over to the UK so I can see castles. But now I am thinking that there are whole lot of other things I will need to see including Tudor buildings and of course. . . I will need to get me some authentic Fish and Chips!

Tudor building in the UK - Worcester

Enjoying Arizona’s Amateur Astronomy

Arizona is one of the best places in America for star-gazing and Astronomy. This is for a few different reasons. First off they have a sparse population with a lot of desert. This means that there are very large areas with very little light pollution. And they have mountains which of course are even better. The higher up you go the less air disturbance you have.

Arizona does have some world class observatories on the tops of it’s mountains.

Arizona also has a very vibrant community of amateur astronomers. These clubs meet all the time and share their time and telescopes with the public. It’s pretty darn great! And I have been enjoying it all. Since arriving here I have been to six different astronomy club events. And there are more coming.

And later this month is the event of events! The grand canyon national park has a week long astronomy and star-gazing event. I am booked and going. And I am so looking forward to it! Hopefully I will get some amazing pictures and share them with you.

If you are interested in Amateur astronomy and telescopes be sure to visit my website: The telescope Nerd

Finding project inspiration in Museums

I have been having a lot of fun traveling all over America. And travel, in itself is rewarding. But I have been taking it to another level by finding inspiration in the travel. Let me give you a couple of examples of what I mean.

My over-arching goal for this trip around America is to see castles; to research them and understand how they were built. That’s one thing. But, as I traveled the thought occurred to me that I could also take this same approach on a smaller scale.

I have been seeing all these wonderful things in museums and thinking “Hey, I could make something like that.”

And that is what I have been doing. I have been finding inspiration in museums and making my own projects based on the inspirations.  Here are a few examples.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The MET) has this beautiful marble statue of Perseus slaying Medusa. And the focus here is on the sword. I took a whole bunch of pictures of that sword from various angles.

Then I went ahead and made it, with an included tutorial so you can make it.  If you want to make this sword the tutorial is here: Make the Sword of Perseus

Let me give you another example.

At the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore Maryland they have a wonderful exhibition called “A Chamber of Wonders” It was a popular thing during the 17th century Flemish Renaissance.


It’s a wonderful thing. I thought that it would be perfect for a diorama project. So, I turned it into a paper diorama (Tatebanko) project.

And it is a full tutorial with everything you need. Download the pdf, print it up and make it.

That project is here:
Chamber of Wonders Tatebanko

Traveling all over America has been a wonderful experience for me. But it has gone beyond just experience. It has also been a journey where I have learned things and improved my skills at making things.

So, in your travels and trips to museums, or even other places give some thought to using what you see as a learning experience and a way to improve your crafting skills. Can you  make it? Is the big question to always ask yourself. And me….. I ask myself that exact question every time I visit a castle.

The Things I am learning from Visiting Castles

You may already know but I have the goal of building my own castle. It is part of the reason why I have been adventuring around America. I am visiting lots of castles and learning a lot about them, why they were built, how they were built, and what makes each of them unique.

It has been a wonderful learning process for me. And I have learned a lot. Let me give you an example.

Here is Grey Towers Castle in Pennsylvania. It’s a wonderful 100 year old castle. Yet pretty standard stuff when it comes to the castles in America.

But, I did discover something about this castle and gained a wonderful insight. You see, this castle is a bit unique, a little bit different than many of the other castles I have visited.




This castle has a wonderful network of narrow paths and secret areas around back. You can go for a walk in a charming wooded area just outside the castle. And in this area is a group of secret and intimate little spots like a covered gazebo a small fish fountain and some little buildings. It is just wonderful!! So, when I build my castle I am going to have an area just outside the castle like this. It is perfect for having intimate little gatherings of friends, maybe have dinner outside or a barbeque and drinks.

Want to learn more about Grey Towers Castle?   

Here are some pictures of intimate little areas around the castle.



















Ascending into the Cloisters

There is only one museum in America devoted specifically to the Medieval Period. It is “The Cloisters” in New York City. And it is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  This museum was designed from the ground up with the Medieval period in mind.  And that is a big thing. Even the architecture is medieval inspired.  This was very carefully thought out by the architects. So, not only does it house medieval works of art the building itself is a medieval work of art.

Some of the structure was actually purchased from medieval buildings in Europe, shipped across the ocean and incorporated into the cloisters.

So, to the point of my blogpost. “Ascending into the Cloisters”.



In the Medieval period the Catholic religion was very strong. It was the basis and inspiration for much of the building and much of the art.  The Church was a powerful and wealthy organization going through strong growth.  This growth and strength manifested itself in various arts including illuminated manuscripts, stained glass windows, enamels and of course architecture.

And in the cloisters I want to discuss one very important piece of it: “The entrance”.  You see that nothing in a building is by happen stance or by chance. Everything is carefully designed and for a reason. And that’s why the entrance is so unique.

To get into the museum proper you  have to go up this long and quiet corridor. You ascend quietly into the museum. And there is a spiritual aspect to this. You are transitioning from the outside world to the quiet, religious and contemplative world of a cloister.


It’s really quite a remarkable thing and as you are climbing these stairs you feel different. There is an ambiance and feeling to this length of corridor.

It works and it is a testament to the brilliance of the architects for really getting the feel of the medieval period.

Want to see more of the cloisters? I have pictures on my website right here: The Cloisters

While browsing around an old bookstore in New Orleans

I am on a journey around America. I am visiting all 48 states and seeing a whole lot of sights. And while in New Orleans I found an old bookstore. It was a great little place with a lot of old books. And I discovered this set of three books:






I almost didn’t pull them down off a high shelf. There is no telling how long they were sitting there. And the spines were damaged so the title of the books is missing. It was simply a look to see. I figured nobody would bother to look at them. The title pages are missing on the inside so it’s almost impossible to know the titles!







And much to my surprise they were wonderful books! Just my kind of thing. And one of the books has a yellow post it note inside:


So, I am guessing that the name of the book is Decorative Antiquities to illustrate a variety of design details.  And in three volumes.


And the books are full of illustrations. Simply that, lots of illustrations.


There are towers, cartouches, cariatides, columns, caissons and much more… wood carvings, candelabras, stairways, human figures, statues and much much more. It is a wonderful set of reference books. And perfect for me considering the fact that I am building a castle!

One of the wonderful things about traveling is that you run into unexpected little surprises of every type, food, entertainment, interesting people, new scenery and even mysterious little book stores. Yup, good to see America still has mysterious little book stores.







Medieval America – Will is traveling all around the USA visiting medieval sites

Quick Summary: I have sold my house and I am taking the Summer of 2018 to travel all over the United States from East Coast to West Coast. My goal is to build a castle. And during this trip I will be visiting all kinds of medieval sites like Castles, Meaderies, Blacksmiths, Stone Masons, Museums and much more. It all started on April 27th, 2018. And it continues.

I have done a fair amount of international travel. And I love that. But, for one reason or another I never did much travel in the USA. Well…. now I am doing it. And I am shooting videos, and writing all about it. And you can follow along.

Follow along with me through my youtube channel right here. Epic Fantasy and Medieval America

Or if you prefer the written work I am keeping a daily log of the places I visit and the things I see on my website right here: Medieval America

And what have I done so far? Well… Ten Castles, Five Meaderies, Three Museums, two blacksmiths, and a whole lot more. Want to see a slice of america? Follow along on my website or my youtube channel.

Trip to Cranston street Armory in Providence RI

I have a big list of castles in America that I want to visit. I have already done some of them. This one is not too far away being in Providence RI. It is a very big armory. And it is currently not being used. It needs to be renovated and that is going to be expensive.

The Cranston Street Armory

It was built in 1907 and it has been used continually until recently, mostly by various military units like Military Police , Coast Guard and National guard.

There are two things about this Fortress that make it stand out. First off it is enormous. Very big for an armory. If I remember correctly the main area in the middle ( a large hall) is over 2 acres in size. One of the pictures here shows what appears to be two structures, one on the left and one on the right. But those are just the towers on each end. The trees block our view of the center of the structure.

The second remarkable thing about this Fortress is the beautiful yellow/orange stonework. It is remarkable.

You can see more pictures of this fortress on my website here: The Cranston Street Armory


The Words around Barnard Castle

I have a friend who lives in the U.K. (lucky) and he regularly contributes wonderful stuff to my various websites including pictures and articles about any castles that he visits.

He just recently visited a castle called “Barnard Castle” and of course he sent me lots of pics, and wrote a great essay about it. You can check that out right here.

When I create a webpage like this for something that someone sent me I usually do a little research so I can understand better what I have and how I can best transmit that to my web visitors. Maybe I can add a little something to it.

Well… for Barnard castle one of the first things I did was crank up google maps. And of course the castle is there.

I started looking around the castle and the various little towns nearby and what did I find? I felt like I was dropped directly into middle earth! Yes. It is because of the wonderful names of things in just a few square kilometers around it.

I got to share some of my discoveries with you.

There is a bakery called “The Moody Baker” and an Inn called The “Ancient Unicorn Inn”


A restaurant called “Fryer Tuck Restaurant” A patisserie called “Bramble Pie”.
How about the Taj Mahal Takeaway, the Three Horseshoes and the Coach and Horses Inn.And while I have a head of steam going here lets take a look at some of the areas and roads.

There is:

Evenwood, Butterknowle, Wackerfield and Dickens Road!
Huderthwaite, Romaldkirk, Langleydale and Mickleton!
Churchill Road, Eggleston, Thringarth and Bowbank!

With a yarn mouse a deerbolt and a White Swan  all along the Deepdale Beck!

All of this makes me think of Tolkien and the wonderfully rich language he created and used in his writing. He was a philologist wasn’t he? And it is easy to see his inspiration. There are just so many wonderful names, words, and places in the United Kingdom. These words are just a joy to read and say! And I believe this is one of the most important things about Tolkiens work – the simple joy of language.

Well… let me end off this whole thing with a take out restaurant near the castle called “Jennifers”.

Aww…. Jennifer! Seems to me you let everybody down. “Jennifers” is just too plain and modern. You should get on the same sheet of music as everybody else. How about you rename the place to “Lady Jennifers” That might work.