Thursday, December 22, 2011


I am a little embarrassed to even tell about the dumb-headed error we made regarding our quick trip to Tacoma this week. One of our goals was to visit the Glass Museum and another, The Tacoma Art Museum. We discovered when we arrived on Tuesday that both museums, indeed all the museums in Tacoma, close on both Monday and Tuesday during the winter months. What?? Impossible!—Sorry. Possible. My error. I know museums tend to be closed on Mondays. Tuesday didn't occur to me and I didn't check. So we threw ourselves into the Puget Sound and that was the last that was seen or heard of us  re-thought our strategy and had fun in spite of our poor planning.

Lucky us. We had decided to stay at the Hotel Murano, named for the famous island of glass artisans near Venice, Italy. Tacoma's identity, you see, is all about glass art since native son Dale Chihuly became famous and built his Museum of Glass in Tacoma. The Hotel Murano took the theme and ran with it.

I took this photo of the front desk as Ray was checking us in.. Everything about the hotel is cool and beautiful.

Even the elevators are beautiful with fused glass panels similar to the one at the front desk.

The hotel is filled with art, mostly glass art, but in the lobby I spotted a screen print by a favorite artist, and another Washington native, Chuck Close.

In a large display case was this intricate piece by Italian artist, Lucio Bubacco.

A closer look shows that it includes figures blowing and forming glass over glass flames. Magical.

In the grand corridor and staircase leading the meeting rooms off the lobby is this installation of three glass "Viking Boats" by Danish artist, Vibeke Skov.

Each floor of the hotel  features a different glass artist, with an example of their work and photos of them at work in their studios lining the main hallway. Beautifully presented. We started at the top floor and walked down each hallway, viewing each display. Did we miss the glass museum? Maybe we did, but this was certainly a wonderful art viewing experience. Here is the piece featured on our floor—the first thing you see as you exit the elevator.

Fish Hanger #49, Hiroshi Yamano

Another that I loved. These are Danish, but made me think of the Japanese rice bowls I keep coming back to. So cold and lovely.

Nests, Tobias Mohl

And so much more than I am showing you. We spent hours wandering the hotel, looking at the art.

We walked through the theater district and the old downtown, across the Bridge of Glass and into the shops around the museums. A cold mist rose from the Sound and we headed back to the hotel for a drink and a card game.

Twilight view from our hotel room.

We walked down the street to the beautiful Thai Restaurant that my friends and I dined at last summer, when we were in Tacoma for the APWQ show at the convention center. We justified a sumptuous dinner and extravagant bottle of wine by reminding ourselves of the museum fees we had saved.

The next day, the Solstice dawned, with the sun rising from behind Mt. Rainier, seen out that same window.

The train trip home, along Puget Sound and the Columbia River was frosty and beautiful. We read and napped and arrived home ready to take on Christmas.


  1. You certainly made a lemonade experience out of the lemon you were handed!

  2. What a fun day! Am I envious? You bet I am.

  3. We stayed there on our last trip to Tacoma, it was wonderful seeing so many different types of glass in this setting. To bad about the museums being closed, sounds like something I'd do

  4. I am going to schedule a trip to Tacoma so we can stay in that hotel. (So what if my brother lives in Shelton!) What a gorgeous hotel. The photo of Mt. Rainer made me long for Seattle. I am so happy that your trip was fun. Have a very Merry Christmas! I wish I could be there to watch Sofia open her gifts. She is at the age where Christmas is magical. Enjoy!

  5. What a great photo exhibit. We may have to hang out there on our next visit to Tacoma. Is Murano walking distance from the Museums?

    Thanks, Terry. And Merry merry to you and yours.

  6. Terry, thanks for the beautiful report and pictures from your Tacoma trip. Wish I could get back there for another visit with Margaret Miller in Bremerton--one of the best memories of my life! I know living that close you will get back to the Museum of Glass, soon I hope! With more pictures!
    Martha Ginn

  7. I wondered about that hotel when we walked by it, with that dramatic green glass sculpture out front. You and Ray obviously made the best of your less-than-optimal planning!

    I love Chuck Close's work; the detail is wonderful, and so unexpected the first time you have a chance to examine it up, uh, close. Who was the subject of that portrait, anyone whose name we'd recognize?