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Happy Birthday, Paul McCartney

Friday, Jun 18 2021 by

Paul McCartney is one of the most talented and influential musicians of the last 100 years.

Today he turns 79, so let’s take a look back at some of the most important places in his life and career, and where he might be celebrating his birthday this year.

Childhood Home, Liverpool, UK

Paul McCartney was born on June 18, 1942 in Liverpool, England. When he was a teenager, he moved to this home on Forthlin Road.

When the Beatles were just starting out, the group would meet at this home and practice, write songs, and hang out. While Paul certainly imagined being a famous musician, it’s likely that he never would have imagined that those afternoon practices would lead to him becoming one of the most famous and wealthy musicians of all time. As of 2021, his net worth was estimated at more than a billion dollars!

The British National Trust acquired the home in 1995, and has labeled it as the “Birthplace of the Beatles”. On an episode of Carpool Karaoke, Paul and the host James Corden visited the home, and Paul said it was the first time he’d been back since his teenage years.

Paul McCartney's Childhood House (StreetView)
Paul McCartney's Childhood House

St. Peter’s Church, Woolton Parish, Liverpool, UK

From a young age, Paul McCartney loved music and wanted to be a professional musician. By his teens, he was serious about the pursuit. When he was 15, Paul met John Lennon at St. Peter’s Church in Liverpool, where John was performing with his own band.

The two connected and quickly formed a new band. The place was very important to the group. In fact, it’s here where the band got the idea for the song “Eleanor Rigby”. The name is found on one of the cemetery’s headstones. The song was featured on their Revolver album, and was one of Paul’s most famous, and most beautiful, compositions.

Paul McCartney and John Lennons first meeting place (Google Maps)
Paul McCartney and John Lennons first meeting place

Ranch in Tanque Verde, AZ

Paul met his first wife, Linda, at the height of his fame, and the two were married in 1969. They were together until she passed away from breast cancer in 1998.

The couple bought an Arizona ranch in 1979, because Linda had spent much time in the state, and loved being in the desert environment. The Tanque Verde ranch is about 150 acres, near Tuscon.

The home is not grand, but it was perfect for long visits while raising their four kids. Linda passed away at the ranch, and some of her ashes were scattered around the property.

Paul McCartney's Ranch (Birds Eye)
Paul McCartney's Ranch

London Residence, UK

Paul bought a townhouse way back in 1965 in London’s St. John’s Wood. Through all his career growth, different relationships, and life changes, he’s always kept this as a main property. In fact, the wedding reception for his marriage to Nancy Shevall was held here.

He paid about $1 million in today’s dollars for the three story structure. His investment has paid off; recently, a fixer-upper went on the market for about $25 million! He’s done extensive renovations, including adding a gate and security system. He also has a home recording studio, of course.

Paul McCartney's House (Birds Eye)
Paul McCartney's House

Peasmarch in Rye, Sussex, UK

Paul likes to buy real estate and hold onto it, unlike many other celebrities. In 1973, he bought an estate in Rye, and has kept it ever since. He and Linda raised their family there, and loved the low-key lifestyle it afforded them.

In fact, this is where he spent much of his quarantine in 2020, with one of his daughters and her family. The large house and sprawling grounds are a perfect place to quarantine.

This isn’t the only home he owns in the area. He has bought property and other homes both to ensure his privacy, and for investment purposes. All told, it is estimated he owns more than 1,500 acres in the area.

Paul McCartney's House (Google Maps)
Paul McCartney's House

Stella McCartney’s Home in Pershore, UK

Paul isn’t the only famous and successful McCartney in England these days. His daughter Stella has become an internationally-famous clothing designer, first for Gucci and now under her own name.

Stella and her husband Alasdhair Willis bought a lovely estate in Bishamtpon, in Worcestershire, England. They have lived there since 2001, and have become regular sites in the small village since.

As of 2021, Stella’s net worth is abut $75 million, and she has used her money to make considerable improvements to the once-dilapidated Georgian structure they call home. They have placed specific emphasis on the multiple gardens they’ve cultivated on the grounds.

Stella McCartney's UK Mansion (Bing Maps)
Stella McCartney's UK Mansion

Because Paul is a bit of a homebody when he’s not touring, and because of Covid-19, it’s likely Paul will spend his birthday at his Rye estate. He’ll probably be surrounded by family, and maybe they’ll even sing the Beatles anthem “Birthday” to their dad and grandpa.

Happy Birthday, Paul!


June's Deep Dive into History: Remembering Anne Frank

Saturday, Jun 12 2021 by

Annelies “Anne” Frank was born on June 12, 1929. She started out as every other youth, carefree and full of dreams for her future. But by the time she died before her 16th birthday, she had gone through what no one should have to. Because she wrote down her experiences, as well as her thoughts, dreams, and fears, the world knows more about the Holocaust.

Let’s take a deep dive into Anne’s life, and learn more about how the world can be torn apart by hate, and that each person matters.

Frankfurt, Germany

Anne Frank was born in Frankfurt, Germany, on June 12, 1929. She had a happy childhood, in spite of the tumult developing in her native country.

The Frankfurt Cathedral in downtown Frankfurt is near the clinic where she was born. The famous cathedral is a central landmark of the city, and has played an important role both religiously and culturally for eight hundred years.

The church’s 328 foot tower was added in the 1500s, and is one of most striking architectural features in the city. Visitors can climb the 328 stairs to the top, to enjoy a vista of the ancient German city.

Frankfurt Cathedral (Birds Eye)
Frankfurt Cathedral

Amsterdam, Holland

Due to political unrest in Germany and increasing hostility against Jews, the Frank family fled to Holland, now known as the Netherlands in 1933. Otto, Anne’s dad, was able to start a business, and the family settled into their new lives.

Close to Otto’s business and in the heart of downtown, the Royal Palace is a major landmark. It was built in the 1600s, and turned into a palace by Napoleon’s brother, King Louis Napoleon, in 1809.

Those who visit and enjoy the architecture and beauty of the palace and adjacent Dam Square can think that Anne may have walked the same streets during happier days in Amsterdam.

Royal Palace of Amsterdam (StreetView)
Royal Palace of Amsterdam

The Secret Annex, Amsterdam, Holland

In July 1942, Anne and her family were forced to hide in a hidden apartment in the building of her father’s business. For the next two years and one month, the family of four, plus four others, were crammed into a 450 square foot area.

There, Anne wrote in a journal she’d received for her birthday. Her thorough document what it was like as a Jew under Hitler’s rule, and about life in hiding. She also wrote eloquently about her dreams of being a writer, as well as other feelings about boys, love, and life in general.

On August 4, 1944, the entire group was discovered and arrested, along with the people who helped them on the outside.

Anne Frank's House (Former) (StreetView)
Anne Frank's House (Former)

Camp Westerbork, Holland

After being discovered by the Nazis, Anne and the other hiding with her were taking to Camp Westerbork. The camp had originally been created to house Jewish refugees coming into the Netherlands. However, it was taken over when the Nazis invaded.

The camp was used as a transit camp, taking Jews captured in Holland and preparing them to be shipped to other concentration camps throughout conquered Nazi territory.

The camp had a hair salon, school, restaurants, and other facilities designed to give the Jews  a false sense of security and make them easier to control as they were selected to be sent to work camps or death camps. Over the course of the war, nearly 100,000 individuals passed through the camp, nearly all of them sent to their eventual death at a concentration camp.

Westerbork Concentration Camp (Google Maps)
Westerbork Concentration Camp

Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland

On September 3, 1944, Anne and the others arrested from the Annex were put on trains and shipped to Auschwitz-Birkenau. When the group arrived in the camp, they were separated, tattooed, and put to work doing hard labor for the Nazis.

Auschwitz was a group of more than 40 camps divided into work and extermination camps, and were the site of more than one million deaths at the hands of the Nazis. They were opened in 1940, at the start of Hitler’s attack on Jews, Roma, homosexuals, and those who didn’t conform to his fascist policies.

The camps were liberated on January 27, 1945, by Soviet troops. But by that time, most of the prisoners, including Anne, her sister Margot, had been moved to other camps to keep working for the Nazis. Anne’s mother, Edith, passed away from starvation at Auschwitz on January 6, just days before the camp was liberated.

Former Nazi German Concentration Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau (Google Maps)
Former Nazi German Concentration Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau

Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, Germany

Anne and Margot were shipped to Bergen-Belsen in northern Germany. It was originally a prisoner of war camp, but turned into a concentration camp as the war progressed.

Anne and Margot were forced to live in unsuitable conditions and work as slave labor. Margot and Anne died in February 1945, likely of typhus, which was raging in the camp at the time. Their actual death dates and causes of death are not known, but speculated based on interviews with friends and bunk mates.

Only two months later, the camp was liberated by British soldiers, on April 15, 1945.

Bergen-Belsen concentration camp (Google Maps)
Bergen-Belsen concentration camp

Memorial at Bergen-Belsen

There is a memorial to Margot and Anne Frank at Bergen-Belsen. It is in the shape of a tombstone, with their names, and birth and death years.

The memorial is covered with small stones, which is meaningful in the Jewish tradition. Putting stones on the grave is a way of helping the soul find rest, and reminds the world that, although one is dead, they will not be forgotten.

Anne and Margot Franks Memorial Stone (StreetView)
Anne and Margot Franks Memorial Stone

After the war, Otto Frank returned to Amsterdam and collected the few belongings that had been saved after the raid on the hiding place. Among the items was Anne’s diary. Otto published the journal in 1947.

“The Diary of a Young Girl” has done more to educate people about the Holocaust than perhaps any other piece of work. Published in more than 70 languages, it also fulfilled Anne’s childhood dream of becoming an author and journalist.

Anne’s journal helps us all to never forget the tragedy of the Holocaust. It is only by remembering that we can ensure that it will never happen again.







Perfect Places for a Destination Wedding

Sunday, Jun 6 2021 by

June is wedding month, and nothing says love like a destination wedding.

Let’s take a look at some of the most gorgeous, romantic, and awesome places you can tie the knot!

Four Seasons Bora Bora

If you’re going for a high-end, picture-perfect beach wedding that no one will ever forget, you can’t go wrong with the Four Seasons Bora Bora! Considered one of the most beautiful places on earth, the Pacific island is perfect for an intimate wedding and honeymoon, or a grand celebration of love with your friends and family.

The Four Seasons was completed in 2009, and has established a wonderful reputation as a five-star resort where all your needs are catered to and every experience is perfect. But, it does come with a hefty price tag, since even the simplest bungalow at the resort will set you back a few thousand dollars a night. But it’s worth it to get married in paradise, right?

Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora (Google Maps)
Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora

Tunnel of Love, Las Vegas, NV

If Bora Bora’s perfection doesn’t appeal, or isn’t in your budget, you can always head to Las Vegas. With plenty of Elvis impersonators ready to marry you, or just serenade the happy couple, it’s a memorable place to say “I do”.

The Little White Chapel has been marrying people for at least seventy years, and has married the likes of Britney Spears, Frank Sinatra,Judy Garland, Michael Jordan, and about 800,000 other happy couples.

They have even tapped the market of express weddings. If your wedding is just a stop on the way to the destination, you can get hitched at the Tunnel of Love.

Tunnel of Love: Drive-thru Wedding Chapel (Birds Eye)
Tunnel of Love: Drive-thru Wedding Chapel

Hotel Ritz, Paris, France

Paris is known as the world’s most romantic city, so a destination wedding to the City of Lights is perfect. The Hotel Ritz in downtown Paris is known as one of the world’s most luxurious hotels, and has been since it was created in 1898. It was one of the first hotels in Europe to have electricity, indoor, in-suite bathrooms, and in-room telephones.

With marble, gold, and crystal finishings, this hotel is pure elegance. If your heart is set on an unforgettable, chic, and elegant wedding and reception, and you can afford the best Paris has to offer, you should book the Ritz for your destination wedding.

Hôtel Ritz Paris (Google Maps)
Hôtel Ritz Paris

Kinnity Castle, Ireland

Ireland has a long reputation of being a romantic, idyllic country that evokes feelings of love, happiness, and peace. Kinnity Castle in central Ireland was originally built nearly a thousand years ago. It has been destroyed and rebuilt and added onto over the centuries, and is a romantic, magical place for a couple in love.

The four star hotel loves to host weddings and receptions, with a view that will take your breathe away. The wedding photos will be phenomenal with a gothic castle, green hills, and gorgeous blue sky to accent the happy couple. The evening ceremony and reception will be unforgettable with fine china, candles flickering, and gorgeous stone walls to emphasize the momentous day.

If you want to start your union with the luck of the Irish, Kinnity Castle should be your destination.

Kinnity Castle (Google Maps)
Kinnity Castle

Biltmore Estate, North Carolina

If you love the idea of a castle wedding, but want to get married in the United States, you should put the Biltmore Estate on your list. Constructed for American “royalty” George Vanderbilt, it remains the country’s largest private residence.

Couples are able to reserve space in one of the many ballrooms, reception rooms, or outside venues across the estate’s 8,000 acres. Some have an elegant and stated feel, while others highlight the mountain setting while still providing an elegant, full-service event fit for anyone wanting to live like royalty for a day.

Biltmore Estate (StreetView)
Biltmore Estate

Disney World, Florida

If you’re fun-loving, young at heart, and feel like your love story is a fairy tale, what better place to marry your own Prince Charming than at Disney World?

Disney has a reputation for catering to your every fantasy, and getting married at the Magic Kingdom is no exception! Whether it’s an intimate ceremony or a large celebration, Disney will not disappoint.

One of the highlights of  a Disney wedding is that you can be Cinderella in your own ornate carriage, with footmen to make sure you feel like the princess on your special day. Often, weddings are marked by a private fireworks display; how cool is that!

If you choose to host a destination wedding at Disney World, or any of their resorts, it will be a perfect way to start your “happily ever after”.

Disney World's Cinderella Castle (Birds Eye)
Disney World's Cinderella Castle

These are just a few places that are famous for making saying “I do” feel special, but anywhere there are two people who love each other and are willing to pledge their loves to one another is as magical as any castle, as special as any five star resort, and as memorable as any big reception. After all, love is all you need.



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