Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Fells - The John Hay Estate - Lake Sunapee - Newbury, New Hamphire

My second visit to the Fells was fantastic. After performing at Keene State College, I took a morning drive to the beautiful home on Route 103A on the eastern shore of Lake Sunapee. Hay called it a farm.

The home is beautiful, a large white wooden two story structure with beautiful gardens. TR visited during his presidency and planted a maple tree in the field west of the veranda. Today, I rested against the tree while I read from the posthumously published Speeches of John Hay.

The relationship between Hay and Roosevelt dates all the way back to the Civil War, when TR's father lobbied Hay and Lincoln to create the Allotment Commisssion. After the war, Hay was an occassional guest at the Roosevelt home in Manhattan. Imagine young TR listening to his father and mother discussing the issues of the world with Hay during a family dinner.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Teddy Roosevelt Show Brings Me Back to Illinois - at Last

It’s good to be back in Illinois.

The family and I toured the fifty states in 2008 and 2009, researching and performing a one man show as Theodore Roosevelt. With a lot of work in the South and on the East Coast, our winter headquarters has been in Sewanee, Tennessee at our alma mater, the University of the South. At Sewanee, in March, I’ll workshop a TR and John Muir play with Lee Stetson, a talented Muir reprisor featured in the Ken Burns series on our national parks.

Summer was spent throughout New York, with the family camped in the 1000 Islands of the St. Lawrence River.

It’s been six months since my last visit, when my father was going through bladder cancer surgery and recovery. I’m glad to say Pops is all through with his chemotherapy and feels better and looks good. Thanks to all for prayers and good wishes for him. He’s performing throughout the Midwest – check out

Today, Pops and I journeyed around Kirkland and Rockford, running life’s errands. It was a great day, and a good supper follows.

I’m in Chicagoland until Sunday night, and if there’s a chance to catch up with friends, I hope you might find one of the following to be in your back yard.

Friday morning starts at the Skokie Theatre, 7924 North Lincoln Avenue for a 10:30 AM Teddy Roosevelt Show. The show lasts until 11:30 AM with another fifteen minutes or so of Q & A in character. Twenty-five dollar tickets are available at the door.

On Friday night, the officers of the Chicago Bull Moose Chapter of the Theodore Roosevelt Association (TRA) host a dinner meeting at Francesca’s Tavola Italian Restaurant at 208 South Arlington Heights Road in Arlington Heights. Dinner is a 6PM dutch treat at this $15-20 restaurant, and we have a private space or corner. As the president of the chapter, I would invite you to join us. We are affiliated with the national organization and have been awarded the 2012 annual TRA meeting, where I hope you will help us celebrate the storied Chicago history associated with Theodore Roosevelt, including the 1912 GOP and Progressive Conventions held here.

On Saturday, I’ll be in Fairdale, working on our home property, the old church on Highway 72. Anybody want to buy a church?

On Sunday, I’ll perform for my friends at the Warren Township Republican Party. Their 2:00 P.M. Luau promises to be as delicious as the entertainment is fun. The pig roast luau is at Jesse Oakes, a beautiful shelter complex at 18490 W. Old Gages Lake Road in Gages Lake, IL. The show starts at 3:30. Adult tickets for food and entertainment are $25 and children (11 & under) are free. Military (active, retired, guard & reserve) are $15.

Later Sunday, at 7:00 P.M., I perform the full theatre show at Aurora’s Copley Theatre, 20 East Galena Avenue. Tickets are $20, just $10 for seniors and students.

More information is available at:

I leave Monday morning for New Hampshire, Connecticut and New York. I’ll be back for a run right before the February 2 primary. I stay in touch with Illinois every day, and I salute so many of my fellow Illinoisans who are still slugging it out as men and women in the arena. You have good and righteousness on your side, and all the rest is just hard work. I wish you the just rewards of the vigorous life. I shall return.

Bully for you!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Grand Dame of Madison Avenue - the Roosevelt Hotel

The Roosevelt Hotel New York City – The Grand Dame of Madison Avenue – is a wonderful hotel, with a location exceeded only by the friendliness and helpfulness of the hotel staff. At the northeast corner of Madison Avenue and 45th Street, the hotel features a beautiful lobby and lounge where hundreds of guests relax, recharge and come and go through a day and night in the city.

On President Theodore Roosevelt’s 151st birthday, I was delighted to greet guests from around the world and around the country as they arrived at the iconic Manhattan hotel.
Built in 1924, the hotel was famous for broadcasting Guy Lombardo’s New Years Eve concert heard round the world on radio. Now the Roosevelt Grill is a beautiful restaurant at the northeast corner of the lobby floor. As one ascends a split level staircase towards the Roosevelt Grill, one sees a massive bronze relief with T.R. shown as a Western cowboy on horseback, waving a farewell with his cowboy hat, headed for a trail ride in the mountains beyond his shoulder.

The Long, Long Trail is a treasure of a work. Sculpted by James Earl Fraser and based on the drawing of J.N. “Ding” Darling, the Pulitzer-Prize winning cartoonist, the work was completed in 1922. The original 1919 drawing by Darling was a gift to Mrs. Edith Roosevelt, T.R.’s widow. As a cartoon, the Long, Long Trail was published around the world. After serving with the famed naturalists Aldo Leopold and Thomas Beck on the 1934 Committee for Wildlife Restoration, Darling went on to serve eighteen months as President Franklin Roosevelt’s Director of the Biological Survey. Darling initiated the Duck Stamp program which is such a vital source of funding for wildlife conservation efforts, even drawing the first duck stamp. Later, Darling would join others to found the National Wildlife Federation. The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, Florida, was set aside in his honor.

James Earl Fraser was a pre-eminent American sculptor, famous for the 1913 buffalo nickel and the 1915 End of the Trail. In 1932, Fraser created the Theodore Roosevelt equestrian sculpture that still presides over the eastern entrance to the American Museum of Natural History.

Heading past the Long, Long Trail to the grille, one can dine beneath TR’s gaze from any of a dozen interesting photos and paintings. In the Madison Club Lounge, still more photos and paintings, including a handsome painted portrait of Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt of the First United States Cavalry, known to history as the Rough Riders.

For a Theodore Roosevelt fan, the Roosevelt Hotel is full of history. For the traveler to New York, on business or pleasure, the Roosevelt Hotel is a wonderful place to stay. Check out to see this beautiful hotel.