Tag - North America

5 Great Travel Destinations in North America

You don’t have to travel the world to find something amazing to see or experience. There are plenty of adventures waiting much closer to home that don’t require crossing oceans or spending half a day on an airplane. Set out to explore North America, and you’ll find some impressive experiences, with many that are practically in your backyard.

Moab, Utah

Moab has the distinct honor of being situated between two of the most impressive national parks in the United States – Canyonlands and Arches. Settle into a comfortable hotel or bring your camper to one of the many campsites in the area and then explore the rivers, mesas, canyons and impressive rock formations and arches.

Rent a jeep to explore because your adventures will definitely take you off road and stay out after dark. There is no end to the stars and night sky viewing in this wide open country. See the Milky Way with your naked eye from the middle of a wide open expanse before heading back to a kitschy western bar or restaurant for some evening fun.

Columbia Icefield

Drive right up to the Athabasca Glacier and experience one of the true wonders of North America before it disappears. The Columbia Icefield is right outside of Jasper in the Canadian Rockies and gives you a glimpse into the continent’s past and future. See the massive sheets of ice that once covered much of our home and watch it continue to recede as our world continues to warm.

After your trip to the Athabasca Glacier, drive under two hours back south to Lake Louise where you can explore the luxurious Fairmont hotel or head just a few minutes north to fully immerse yourself in the rugged outdoors, trees and mountains of Jasper National Park.

Tofino, British Columbia

Whales, salmon, kayaking, hiking, surfing and more await you in Tofino, the small town with plenty of outdoor activities and things to do along the coast of British Columbia. Arrange an offshore fishing trip to pull in halibut and king salmon. Or hike into the nearby Pacific Rim park to enjoy the temperate rain forests and massive old growth forests.

Don a wetsuit any time of year and try your hand at cold water surfing along the many beaches of Tofino or take a more relaxed approach to your adventure and settle into a local resort for comfortable seating and ocean views. Or watch for whales in the summertime and wild storms in the winter while you truly escape city life.

Big Bend National Park, Texas

Want to experience three trips in one? You can do it easily from the comfort of the lodge in the center of Big Bend National Park. This is one of the most remote national parks in the United States, tucked down in the corner of Texas along the Rio Grande – a literal stone’s throw from Mexico.

Stay and hike in the Chisos mountains and look for mountain lions and black bears. Then journey down the mountains to the desert for impressive rock formations and dinosaur fossils. Finally, end your trip with a rafting trip through Santa Elena canyon to surround yourself with sheer rock walls more than 1500 feet high.

Glacier National Park

Along the border with Canada in northern Montana, you’ll find Glacier National Park. This is rugged park that is filled with wildlife, but the biggest sight you’ll see here are the brown bears. Grizzly bears wander the park and you certainly don’t want to see them up close, but you can spot them from a distance as you drive along Going to the Sun road that traverses the park.

Drive the scenic byway to see impressive vistas and wildlife. Then don your hiking shoes to take a trek up to Avalanche Lake. It’s a two hour hike to this crystal clear mountain lake surrounded by snowy mountains and beautiful waterfalls. And when you’re done exploring the mountains, settle in for the night – still surrounded by the wild beauty – in a National Park lodge.

There’s something special about this park that defies words, and after being to Banff, Jasper and others in the area, Glacier stands out.

With so many adventures to choose from throughout North America, deciding on your next excursion can be a challenge at times. Hopefully these suggestions make it a little easier and a whole lot more fun.

Our Return to Key West by Sea

Perhaps twenty years ago my wife Maura and I first visited Key West by driving way out over U.S. 1 from the mainland, stopping once at Key Largo to visit the Humphrey Bogart Museum and the good ship African Queenmoored outside. On that trip we stayed with friends to tour the Hemingway House and see his typewriter with some story he was working on still within the machine as though he had left to have a drink. A bit later we toured the Truman White House with chairs set around a poker table enabling us to imagine Harry sitting there with a cigar in his mouth.

But all that was twenty years ago. This time we boarded the hovercraft Key West Express from Fort Myers Beach 135 miles out to sea to Key West. The ship (holding up to 450 passengers) cruised at 38 knots (45 mph) with indoor and outdoor seating as well as a snack bar and pub. The ship created an immense white wake trailing behind as we traveled at such a high speed until we reached Key West harbor with its coast guard and navy vessels in a bit less than four hours. 

We wheeled our suitcase down the gangplank and through the streets of Key West to our quarters, an old home converted into a pleasant hotel on Caroline Street with a patio and outdoor pool shaded by bushy palms. Soon, suitcase-free, we walked to Duval Street and Sloppy Joe’s bar and restaurant, one of Ernest Hemingway’s favorites.  We ordered delicious crab cakes along with glasses of amber beer. We couldn’t help but notice a large photograph of Hemingway high on a wall above a singer on a stage. To the right of this photo hung a pair of Hemingway’s old-fashioned skis that he used in Austria and Switzerland; they looked quite heavy and cumbersome, hardly good for doing moguls. On another wall hung one of the author’s rifles used on hunting safaris in Africa in the 1930’s.

After lunch we strolled down Whitehead Street to Hemingway’s house (occupied during the 1930’s) where he wrote the second half ofAFarewell to Arms (the first half being written in Sunlight Basin, Wyoming), For Whom the Bell Tolls, and two of his suitcase short stories, “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” which he originally sent to Maxwell Perkins, editor at Charles Scribners, with the title “Wings Over Africa.” Perkins wrote back that this story was magnificent but couldn’t it do with a better title? Hemingway thought about it for a few days and wrote back how ‘bout “The Snows of Kilamanjaro”? Perkins wrote “You’re on!” and it soon appeared in Scribner’s Magazine.

We crossed the street to look up at Key West lighthouse almost obscured by tropical palms, “tropical” I write, but technically they’re not tropical as Key West is 100 miles north of the Tropic of Cancer. Nonetheless, Key West has never experienced a frost as its lowest ever recorded temperature was 42 degrees. But something that Key West has experienced is hurricanes, furious hurricanes, the most recent being Hurricane Irma this past year in 2018. Irma destroyed over 35% of Key West’s trees and ripped off the roof of a downtown hotel and flooded the streets. 

But none of these extremes hit Key West during our brief visit, just beautifully clouded skies, and 80-degree temperatures. Walking past the southernmost point in the U.S., we paused at a beach café to order a nice snack of conch fritters along with mojitos. All the while we just stared out toward Havana across the open seas. One of these days, hopefully, we’ll get over to Havana to see all those 1957 Chevrolets! The 83 degree heat made us sleepy and so to bed we went for an afternoon snooze. That evening, after a dinner of sea scallops in a pineapple-rum sauce, we ambled along the waterfront whose lights twinkled under starry skies.

 Early the next morning, a hoarsely crowing rooster awakened us. Our hotel provided rolls and coffee by the pool and, as we went for a second cup, we met some people from Dallas and had a lovely chat with them as though we knew them for years. Even their faces looked familiar. Leaving the hotel, we soon spotted that crowing rooster on the hotel property and scores more of these creatures walking along the streets. Hens scratched the soil for bugs to feed their wee black chicks. Chickens rule the streets of Key West as a result of once popular cockfighting finally getting outlawed in the 1970’s. Cubalaya chickens were then released to roam the streets free and fare for themselves up till this very day.

We stopped in a shop to buy some gifts for our family and friends and noticed Conch Republic flags displayed all through the store. The owner informed us that during the spring of 1982 President Reagan set up a blockade on U.S. 1 to search for drugs supposedly being snuggled from Key West to the mainland. The blockade really hurt tourist trade and the city council, with the support of citizens, rebelled against U.S. by creating a “Conch Republic” that lasted only one week when it failed to receive “foreign aide” from U.S. We were surprised that we never heard of this event but soon realized that we were living in Japan at the time.

 All too soon we had to line up for boarding our return ship to Fort Meyers Beach. Despite a rather rough voyage back to the mainland with five-foot waves, we thoroughly enjoyed our two days stay on this magical key so close to Cuba.

Wollersheim Winery

By Brian D’Ambrosio,

Wollersheim

Wollersheim

Nuzzled on an attractive knoll facing the Wisconsin River, Wollersheim Winery is rich in history. It is one of America’s oldest wine-making estates, and its original 19th-century, limestone winery is its handsome centerpiece. The Wollersheim family has been producing red, blush and white wines for just over 40 years and had further reason to celebrate its anniversary upon winning “Winery of the Year” at the San Diego International Wine Competition in 2012.

Wollersheim Winery Wisconsin

An ambitious, Hungarian count by the name of Agoston Haraszthy chose this location for his vineyards in the 1840s. However, following a number of years of failure with winter damage to the vines, he sold the property to his vineyard manager, Peter Kehl, and pursued the great Gold Rush out West in December 1849. In due course, Haraszthy became noted as the founder of the California wine industry.

Wollersheim Winery Wisconsin

Wollersheim Winery Wisconsin

Robert and JoAnn Wollersheim purchased the neglected grounds in 1972, with the goal of re-establishing it as a working- family winery.

More than 120 years later, the Wollersheim family sowed the banked slopes with vineyards, cultivating in the unique climate and growing conditions of Wisconsin.

As part of the fix up, the Wollersheim had the underground limestone wine cellars reconditioned with oak barrels and the upstairs of the main building turned into a wine store. It was a veritable dream come true for Robert Wollersheim, who was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. An electrical engineer for the UW-Space Science program, Robert helped build weather radar and space satellites during the 1960s and 70s. Once tiring of engineering life, he moved to Prairie du Sac with his wife and children and started a new career as a vintner.

Frenchman Philippe Coquard, who grew up in France and worked at his family’s wineries, joined Wollersheim Winery and  became a winemaker here 1985. The prominence of family heritage lives on as Philippe and his wife, Julie Coquard, Robert and JoAnn’s daughter now operate the estate winery.

Wollersheim Winery Midwest Nationally-Recognized Winery Tours

Wollersheim Winery

Wollersheim Winery

Wollersheim harvests 27 acres of vineyards and produces seven different wines, such as Prairie BlushFumé, Ruby Nouveau and Domain du Sac, from four hybrid varietals. The family further collaborates with wineries in Washington and New York to grow varietals like Chardonnay, Sangiovese and Pinot Noir.

Annual productivity, including the Cedar Creek label, has surged from 15,000 gallons in 1987 to of more than 240,000 gallons in 2014. The winery mostly markets wines in Wisconsin, with the majority sold at Prairie du Sac and Cedarburg locations. This provincial South Wisconsin winery has received ample awards for its productions and has earned recognition as a principal winery in the Midwest.

Since 1995, Wollersheim Winery has undergone several expansions to augment wine production capacity. In 2008, it commemorated the 150th anniversary of the original winery building, with the expansion of its visitor space.

Wollersheim Winery Wisconsin

Wollersheim Winery Wisconsin

In December 2010, Wollersheim announced that it would begin to distill white wine. The liquid will become brandy after aging in oak barrels for two years. The company began distilling 2,500 gallons of wine made from Wisconsin-grown La Crosse and St. Pepin white hybrid grapes with the use of a Portuguese pot.

The Winery offers scheduled, daily tours and wine tastings are available at anytime. The outdoor balcony and wine garden provide particularly attractive vineyard views from spring through fall. Wollersheim Winery is on Highway 188 and across the river from Prairie du Sac, just 25 miles northeast of Madison. Hours: MondaySunday: 10am – 5pm; Closed: New Years Day, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

“Gilded Age Mansion the Link to Pabst, the Man”

Pabst

Pabst

Esteemed for its cheap cost and blue-collar image, Pabst is the perennial favorite of college kids, country folk, and your average patriotic red-white-blue beer guzzler. Behind the legendary product, however, is the unique life of the forgotten Captain Frederick Pabst (1836-1904), an enterprising immigrant, a successful industrialist, and a fine philanthropist.

 Frederick Pabst emigrated from Germany in 1848 at the age of twelve with his parents. After they arrived in their new country, they traveled west to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, still a frontier town in 1848, was not to their liking and so they settled in Chicago. During the next two years, Frederick and his father made a living by working in various hotels and restaurants. He worked as a hotel waiter, then as a cabin boy on a Lake Michigan steamer, eventually becoming head of one of the vessels. By age 21, he had worked his way so far up the shipping trade hierarchy that Frederick Pabst became Captain, a title he affectionately retained until the day he died. In his riverboat travels, he met a German entrepreneur named Phillip Best, owner of a small Milwaukee brewery.

After marrying the man’s daughter, Frederick came into partnership of the brewery’s operations. A few years later, Frederick bought out his father-in-law, and, in 1889, Best Brewing became Pabst Brewing Company. Soon the prosperous man needed a home fit for his needs and those of his family. He chose Grand Avenue in Milwaukee as that place, for it was an attractive, well-heeled, tree-lined thoroughfare with many great mansions. Construction began in the summer of 1890, and over the course of the following two years, the Pabst Mansion took ornate, extravagant shape, each room ingrained with Flemish style custom furniture, paneling, and panache. At the time of its completion, in July 1892, the Pabst Mansion represented novel standards of modernity and sophistication in design. Since then, it has stood sentinel to Milwaukee’s history, tendering one of the few constants in its changing urban environment, surviving as the epitome of America’s Gilded Age splendor in that city.

Pabst Mansion

Pabst Mansion

John Eastberg is the Director of Development at the Pabst Mansion, and a senior Pabst Historian. He started as a volunteer at the mansion more than 15 years ago. Since then he has learnt the details of every nook, cranny, cubbyhole, slot, ornament, and piece of artwork inside. “Up until the 1890s,” said Eastberg, “there really weren’t any major Flemish Renaissance Revival Style buildings like this in Milwaukee. This was an aberration and a trendsetter. It has the classic American gilded age interior that exemplifies the very best that European design had to offer. Here, we see everything from the artwork, furniture, paneling, and the compartmentalizing of rooms harmonizing with that style.”

At several points, from the beginning of the 20th century onward, the Pabst Mansion has faced the unfortunate prospect of annihilation via the crashing thud of the wrecking ball. The Pabst heirs sold their family home in 1908 to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. For sixty-seven years, five archbishops called the Pabst Mansion their home, preserving the house during urban renewal demolitions. “There were so many structures of the same character and caliber lining the streets here,” said Eastberg. “And this one is the only one left still intact with its original furnishings. Original furniture and family heirlooms are always filtering back to us. We just received armchairs from Mrs. Pabst’s sitting room.” At the time of his death, Captain Frederick Pabst had amassed a veritable brewing and real estate empire. He died on January 1, 1904, leaving the brewery to his sons. Eastberg says that Pabst was far more complex and multi-dimensional than simply being a wise business magnate; he was humbly devoted to his family, friends, and charitable works.

“Frederick Pabst was known in his lifetime to be a very good person,” said Eastberg. “Many famous people in American history we come to learn are not-so-great people. He did great things for the community, his employees, and his family. As far as any gossipy stuff, he was a beer baron who drank a lot of wine. He may have even preferred it.”

Pabst Mansion- old days

Pabst Mansion- old days

Pabst Brewing Company closed its Milwaukee brewery in 1996, and now conducts operations out of corporate headquarters in suburban Chicago. The mansion exists today as one of Milwaukee’s great architectural landmarks, and towers as a prominent link to the Captain’s life and times, bridging three centuries in the process. While dignified, proud, and in remarkably good overall condition, certain rooms show inevitable signs of decay. The success or failure of tending to the Pabst Mansion, says Eastberg, has broader implications than whether or not Pabst enthusiasts have a fun destination for an eccentric road trip or not. The way we treat our historical sites, he says, is a good indication as to how we treat our community, and a building of this stature deserves vigorous attention.

 “The restorations here never end,” said Eastberg. “It’s just like owning your own home, the work never ends. I know that the restoration projects here are complicated and expensive, but there’s no place that’s anything like this in the state – or anywhere else for that matter. It is definitely its own entity and destination.”

Check out more images here:

Hidden Gems of Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs, California has been a top tourist destination for years now.Nestled in a cozy oasis in the desert of California, Palm Springs has a unique cosmopolitan sensibility combined with an adventurous spirit. There’s are tons of things to do when it comes Palm Springs attractions and sightseeing – read on for just a few of the hidden gems of this California paradise.

Beautiful Palm Springs

Beautiful Palm Springs

San Andreas Fault Tour

Taking a trip across the rocky trails around the San Andreas Fault in a comfortable hummer on Elite Land Tour’s San Andreas Fault Tour. You’ll get to see the fully glory and fury of nature on this tour that shows of California’s San Andreas Fault. For people enjoy seeing the outdoors and nature, this is one of the top Palm Springs attractions and sightseeing destinations.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

fig4_Tramway01

Aerial Tramway

For a truly breath-taking view of the desert, you must pay a visit to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, another great site on the list of Palm Springs attractions and sightseeing locations. Starting with an eight and a half minute ride up, you’ll eventually find yourself over two miles above the desert floor. You’ll get a truly breath-taking view of the various wildlife on your way to the top – the trip travels through a number of different environments. It’s said that the journey covers climates that comparable to arid Sonoma, Mexico ranging all the way to areas that aren’t like Canadian tundra.

Palm Springs Art Museum

Palm Springs' art museum

Palm Springs’ art museum

For a more educational entry in the Palm Springs attractions and sightseeing list, try the Palm Springs Art Museum. This mid-sized art museum takes pride in its status as one of the best in the country for promoting visual and performing arts. With a very diverse collection of exhibits, both in terms of culture and chronology, there’s something for everybody – regardless of nationality and generation. Take part in a guided tour of the museum and get a wonderful taste of culture.

Agua Caliente Canyons

Hiking in the canyons

Hiking in the canyons

Located on the tribal lands of the Cahuilla Indians, these canyons are a beautiful location for a day’s hike. Featuring rocky canyon walls, flowing streams and lush palm trees, you can get a taste of nature on these fun but easy hiking trails. For people really seeking an outdoor adventure on their vacation, these canyons are highly recommended as some of the most beautiful Palm Springs attractions and sightseeing destinations.

The Climate

Enjoying life in Palm Springs

Enjoying life in Palm Springs

California is famous for its climate and Palm Springs offers the best of it. With mild winters and over 350 days of sunshine every year on the average, Palm Springs is a great place to live.

Villagefest

Village fest

Villagefest

For people who enjoy spending their days wandering the streets and shopping in an open air market, try Villagefest. Every Thursday, in the center of Palm Springs, you can take part in this great event. With handmade crafts, live music, and delicious edible treats, Villagefest is a lot of fun. This is a great place to pick up a souvenir of your time in Palm Springs. It’s also a great place to meet new friends or just people watch. It’s no surprise it’s counted among the best Palm Springs attractions and sightseeing locales.

Golf and Tennis

Cimarron Golf Course

Cimarron Golf Course

Play golf where the pros play. The Palm Springs area has over 120 beautiful, exquisitely maintained golf courses, some of which are famous throughout the world. The area is known as the golf capital of the western United States and has a fine selection of world-class links to choose from. You can also play tennis at some of the best tennis courts and clubs around.

Palm Springs beautiful mountains

Palm Springs beautiful mountains

This article has barely started to cover the things you can experience in the Palm Springs area. To cover everything would take several books instead of an article. Whether you stay a night, a weekend, a week or a month you will never run out of things to do and experience.


Read More:

Images of The Beautiful Gates and Doors of Palm Springs

Part two – Vacation in Palm Springs? Absolutely!


Top Things to See and Do in Seattle

Seattle, Washington is probably best known as the birthplace of Starbucks Coffee and Grunge music and although true, this spectacular city is paving the way again as it makes its mark as one of America’s Greenest cities on its quest to redefine the American Metropolis living up to its ‘Emerald City’ nickname. Nestled below the watchful eye of Mt. Rainier and the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Seattle is situated on the Puget Sound and surrounded by Elliot Bay, Lake Union and Lake Washington making it one of the most beautiful places on earth. Visitors to this breathtaking city will have no problem finding things to do as they move through and around Seattle. Attractions are both manmade and natural elements, satisfying and stimulating all of the senses and leaving tourists wanting more.

The Space Needle

Space Needle at Night

Space Needle at Night

The Space Needle dominates Seattle’s skyline, not because it’s the largest building in the city but because its revolutionary architecture stands alone among American structures. Built to be the dominant structure in the 1962 World’s Fair, the space needle has been a popular attraction ever since. A great thing to do is dine at the SkyCity Restaurant that hovers 500 feet in the air and rotates 360 degrees as you experience some of Seattle’s finest cuisine. While in the area visit the Pacific Science Center that houses an IMAX theatre, planetarium and laser dome theater in addition to 6 acres of hands on fun with abundant things to do. Other nearby attractions include the Seattle Children’s Museum and the Seattle Center Monorail.

The Museums

EMP Museum, Seattle

EMP Museum, Seattle

A great way to explore Seattle and its rich history is by visiting one of its many museums. From traditional art and science museums to those chronicling the Asian Pacific American experience these local attractions allow visitors to walk through the North West culture which expands beyond its borders and into the world. Two of the most unique museums in Seattle are the Experience Music Project (EMP) and the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame (SFM). These two museums are combined in one architecturally amazing location and bring two popular passions together through state-of-the-art exhibitions and hands-on interactive. This attraction provides many things to do and see as you learn about how the Seattle music scene has evolved and discover the basic building blocks of science fiction. The EMP|SFM is a leader in education to the Seattle community providing many programs and things to do for children and adults.

The Pike Place Market

Pikes market place

Pikes market place

One of Seattle’s most iconic attractions is the Pike Place Market, established in 1907. Filled with endless things to do, this market is one of the oldest continually operated public farmers’ markets in the U.S. Overlooking the Elliot Bay waterfront, Pike Place Market covers over 9 acres and includes buildings, streets, walkways and alleys all dedicated to the people of Seattle and founded to bring farmers and consumers together. Filled with over 190 commercial businesses, 50 restaurants and take-out food shops, and 200 table spaces rented by the day, over 9 million people visit the market each year. The unique shops include: comic book sellers, antique dealers, specialty food shops and handmade clothing boutiques. If you can imagine it, someone is selling it at Pike Place Market. A great thing to do is to stop by Pike Place Fish and experience the extravagant sight of the Salmon tossing fishmongers or stroll along the cobblestones to hear some of the many street performers as varied and diverse as the market itself.

Pioneer Square and Underground Tour

Pioneer Square

Pioneer Square

Pioneer Square is known as the historic centre of Seattle and is where the first pioneers settled in the city. The Pioneer Square-Skid Road Historic District is also included within the National Register of Historic Places, thus making it a popular destination with tourists. Within the district, you will find an array of art galleries, cafes and even a portion of the Klondike Gold Rush National and Historic Park. Within Seattle, you can take an Underground Tour within Pioneer Square and discover what secrets lie beneath.

Music and Seattle

Music and Seattle seem to go hand in hand. Always going against the grain of the era, Seattle has been influential in the music industry since the 1920’s when it embraced the politically radical American Folk scene. Seattle native Jimi Hendrix and bands like Sound Garden, Nirvana and Pearl Jam have kept the music culture alive and diverse. Today Seattle is home to hundreds of celebrated music venues playing a wide variety of music every night of the week and is an attraction that stands alone as one of the most diverse venues hosting rock, electronic, indie, hip hop, world, alt-country, and DJ’s of all kinds. The music lover will not have a problem finding a venue to suit their taste. There are clubs of every kind scattered throughout Seattle with unending possibilities and things to do in the search for entertainment.

The Seattle Festivals

Festivals in Seattle

Festivals in Seattle

For a family friendly activity look no further than one of Seattle’s many festivals throughout the year. These attractions provide countless things to do for ‘kids’ of all ages. The Seattle International Children’s Festival is one of the largest performing arts festivals for families in the United States. Artists from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas perform in downtown Seattle providing a cultural education and experience for all. The Sea Fair has been an annual tradition for over 50 years, this festival last for about a month from the beginning of July until the first Sunday in August. It was voted in the Top 10 events in the country overflowing with activities and things to do including arts and crafts, live music, parades and triathlon. For movie lovers the Seattle International Film Festival gives cinema buffs 25 days of film viewing. More than 300 works are showcased from famous directors to independent filmmakers covering every genre. If travelers are looking to add a fitness adventure to their trip the Seattle Marathon and Half Marathon is sure to deliver. Held annually on the first Sunday after Thanksgiving this event is a great way to celebrate the holiday season. Combining this event with your holiday shopping is a great thing to do as you enjoy Seattle during the holidays.

Outdoor Sightseeing

Seattle Boat tours

Seattle Boat tours

Because the North West is abundantly beautiful a great way to spend time is finding things to do in the great outdoors. Seattle has a wide variety of natural attractions for beginners and seasoned adventure travelers alike. Visitors to this incredible landscape will not have a problem finding activities like mountaineering, hiking, white water rafting, whale watching and even scuba diving. Seattle has done an amazing job keeping its natural resources pristine and their devotion to being a leader in the Green charge is apparent everywhere. There is also a wide range of attractions for the Green minded traveler. Enjoy a tour of one of the many Green buildings, visit ecological restoration sites, tour a state-of-the-art recycling center or sample alternative transportation options. The city also has a Free Ride Zone in downtown that allows visitors to get on and off as they sight see-for free.

Seattle has earned the reputation for being one of America’s top cities for the size of its carbon footprint and has been recognized for its commitment to protecting the environment. Placed among the top cities for walkability, Seattle’s attractions are easily accessible giving travelers an abundance of things to do and see that are low cost or free. Her neighborhoods are welcoming and whether you are enjoying a cup of coffee at a local café, taking in the view of the mountains or listening to a local band jam Seattle will leave you feeling refreshed.

Read More:

Seattle “The Emerald City”

Enjoy Walking Tours Seattle

Utah Shakespeare Festival: National Parks By Day, Bard By Night

What’s better than seeing a Shakespeare play? Seeing a Shakespeare play outdoors, on a beautiful evening, in a re-creation of the Globe Theatre. Travel Brigade takes you to the Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespeare Festival, where the location in Cedar City puts you a short drive from the natural wonders of Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Cedar Breaks National Monument, plus many other state parks and outdoor destinations. Enjoy the red rock country by day and the Bard by night! We’ll also learn about other Shakespeare festivals across America when we talk with the “Shakespeare on the Road” group visiting from England.

Utah Shakespeare Festival-1

Utah Shakespeare Festival-1

Utah Shakespeare Festival: 2

Utah Shakespeare Festival: 2

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A Texas State Of Mind

Exploring a Capital City and Remembering the Alamo

“Alright, alright, alright,” as one famous and easy-on-the-eyes Texan drawled in the classic film Dazed and Confused. In fact, those were the first words the actor Matthew McConaughey said on screen. Visiting Austin, that phrase resounded often as I visited some of its iconic marvels. I am finally in the city I’ve longed to visit. Bring it on!

Austin is a creative, constantly evolving city. Everything you’ve heard about it is true. With vibrant entertainment and culture, inspiring cuisine and stunning outdoor settings, Austin lets you create a soundtrack all your own. After all, with more than 250 music venues, it is the Live Music Capital of the World. Another reason to like Austin: this town is sunny – very sunny – like 300 days of sun and blue skies smiling at you a year-sunny. (I smiled a lot while in Austin).

Gettin’ Stronger (and Larger) Every Day

Austin takes the top spot on Forbes’ annual list of America’s fastest growing cities for the 4th year in a row. “We’ve had 307 companies move here in the last 9 years,” says Dave Porter, Senior Vice President for Economic Development. And, not to be overlooked, the University of Texas churns out engineers and computer scientists into this five-county area at a record pace. Austin now boasts some 4,000 technology companies. Clearly, it’s hard for other cities to compete.

My first evening in Austin – play me some music! And the word on the street seemed to be

The Elephant Room, one of the famous music venues in town. If cool jazz is your melody of choice, this is the place – and it happens every night of the week. By the time I arrived the joint was jumpin’, the ambiance slammin’, and the setting was intimate, not to say slightly claustrophobic. A group called The Monster Band was doing its thing – loudly – horns blasting with five hundred pounds of furious, fully-blown big band horsepower making for a total wall of sound.

An Extraordinary Edifice

State Capitol in Austin

State Capitol in Austin

That would be the state capitol, a magnificent example of 19th century architecture and widely recognized as one of the nation’s most distinct state capitols. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, it was later designated a National Historic Landmark for its significant contribution to American history. The day I visited it was very warm but as the capitol is sited on one of Austin’s highest points, I enjoyed a refreshing breeze from a veranda as I gazed over sweeping views of the Colorado River. This regal, sunset-red granite edifice is the largest of all state capitols and second only in total size to the National Capitol in Washington. See… everything really is bigger in Texas!

Waiting in line to enter Franklin Barbecue? Of course, though even the wait lines in Texas are – you guessed it – bigger! Aaron and wife Stacy opened Franklin Barbecue in late 2009 in an East Austin parking lot. Word quickly got around that the Franklins were selling the best barbecue in town and soon the line of admirers snaked around the block – every single day. In less than two years, The Washington Post, Texas Monthly, and the Cooking Channel were among a growing chorus hailing Franklin among America’s BBQ elite. Before going there, I was told of one recent visitor to this local smokey meat mecca that jumped the line. He visited Franklin Barbecue and had the temerity to go to the front of the long line of customers waiting patiently to get in. Yes, that would be President Obama. Ending his speech at the LBJ Presidential Library, he said: “I love Austin, I love barbecue, and I will get some right after this.” Then, arriving at Franklin he said “I know this is a long line. I feel real bad, but—I’m gonna cut.” And so he did, but not before paying for the orders of two people that he cut in front of. Awwwww….

There’s a new restaurant in Austin that’s garnering lots of attention: LaV, pronounced La Vie.  An appropriate name as this recently-opened dining establishment is nothing if not full of life. When I walked in the door, I was awed by the lush French atmosphere and amazed by the animated and bubbly scene before me. Chef Allison Jenkins focuses on simple yet stylish Provencal cuisine and my salad with roasted shallot and walnut vinaigrette, followed by potato and celeriac soup and finally grilled whole daurade with fennel confit was pure Provencal – pure perfection.

Seeing LBJ in a Whole New Way

Replica of LBJ's Oval Office, LBJ Library

Replica of LBJ’s Oval Office, LBJ Library

Another president that would have had no problem cutting the BBQ line was LBJ himself, right? Visiting the LBJ Presidential Library was a rewarding experience. First off, the library is simply splendid, describing President Johnson’s legacy from the perspective of outstanding exhibits featuring his life and times throughout the turbulent 60s, Vietnam and Civil Rights. I found the November 22, 1963 section affecting and the replica of his Oval Office, duplicated in 7/ 8 scale, was imposing. It was a hoot to pick up one of the exhibit phones and hear LBJ’s conversations with various personages. When he laid into the late Adam Clayton Powell about something he was supposed to do but didn’t, surprise, the pompous, arrogant politician was left speechless. The conversation ended with Powell backing down and eating crow. Another conversation was with the late Katherine Graham, owner of the Washington Post. Known to be a notorious but innocent flirt, the President began the conversation with honeyed endearments, saying how much he misses her and if only he weren’t married…hilarious and somehow very sweet. Viewing his archives of historical papers, photos, film and recordings, I left feeling informed and enlightened and with great admiration for his accomplishments yet ultimately saddened for the man who felt a profound sense of defeat owing to the absurdity and futility of Vietnam.

There’s no doubt about it, Austin is one hip city. The slogan “Keep Austin Weird” initially came about by the Austin Independent Business Alliance to promote small businesses in Austin. Today it is the proud motto of the city, reaching far beyond a marketing campaign. The notion that weirdness is the central gist of life here is at the heart of this mantra. Liberal and progressive politically, socially, in the arts and in music, Austin, a city that revels in its eccentricity, intends to keep itself weird – and wonderful. To that end, there’s a Keep Austin Weird Festival held each summer. And coming up in October, the annual Austin City Limits Music Festival, this year October 3-5 and October 10-12 with an outstanding lineup: Eminem, Pearl Jam, Outkast, Jimmy Cliff and many more.

In Austin, pride of place and pride in its people is an aura I keenly felt. It gave off a warm and happy – ok, weird – vibe that I quite liked. And to quote yet another president, George W. Bush: “Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called ‘walking’.” To that, I can only say Alright!

Deep in the Heart

River Walk, San Antonio

River Walk, San Antonio

An easy hop, skip and jump from Austin, this natural beauty -­ San Antonio – is just 75 miles and less than 90 minutes away; it’s known as one of the top tourist destinations in the U.S. Historic sites such as the Alamo abound and cultural highlights like the San Antonio River Walk flourish. A city of intriguing contrasts, this is a place where modern attractions are juxtaposed with celebrated monuments of Texas history. On my bucket list for eons, I was delighted that I was finally here. The city’s motto is “Deep. In the Heart.” and – after just a few days of gliding down the river, swooning over the exhibits at the Museum of Art, dining in this, the cradle of Tex-Mex, and getting to know some of its fine citizens – I got it. Yes, San Antonio is deeply captivating and yes, it stirs emotions that directly touch the heart.

Immense in Extent

First stop: The Alamo, of course. The most famous historic site in Texas, The Alamo played a critical role in this state’s revolution. A former mission, it was occupied and defended by a band of Texans, (including Jim Bowie and the frontiersman Davy Crockett) against an overwhelming Mexican army led by General Santa Anna. In unparalleled bravery, they held out for thirteen days and refused to surrender. Each, ultimately, met his death. The Alamo represents the heroic struggle for independence from Mexico and remains hallowed ground in the pursuit of Texas liberty. In 1835, one of the brave souls who gave his life, Daniel Cloud, soberly proclaimed:”If we succeed, the country is ours. It is immense in extent and fertile in its soil and will amply reward all our toil. If we fail, death in the cause of liberty and humanity is not reason for shuddering…” Walking through the Alamo, the heart is touched.

Lucky me – to be here just when the San Antonio Museum of Art was presenting a major exhibit of the work of Henri Matisse – a once-in-a-lifetime chance to explore what is perhaps the world’s finest collection, drawn from the renowned Cone endowment at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The exhibit featured more than eighty paintings, sculptures and works on paper spanning six decades of the artist’s career. A few years ago, I had the chance to stand in this artist’s very studio in Vence, France where some of these works were painted, so this was, for me, a particularly meaningful encounter.

Sauntering down the river I came upon an ornate bridge that I traversed via antiquated stone steps that lead me to La Villita, an historic arts village and then on to the Arneson River Theater. The steps themselves were worth noting as they were inlaid with pretty Spanish tiles. Here is where Fiesta Noche del Rio, an interactive folkloric show of talented musicians, dancers and singers is presented. The audience sits on grass-covered steps in an outdoor setting; the theater put me in mind of the great amphitheater of Ephesus – on a considerably smaller scale, of course. For me, the star of the production was one Alejandro Antonio, Flamenco guitarist extraordinaire. His powerful and commanding strumming seemed to reach up to a sky studded with stars, moving me deeply and touching my heart – the San Antonio motto relevant once again.

Epicurean Enticements

Unending lines at Franklin BBQ

Unending lines at Franklin BBQ

One evening, remembering that this town is the birthplace of Tex-Mex, I made my way over to the Pearl Complex, an historic brewery on the banks of the river that’s been transformed into an urban village where one can eat, shop, live, work, and play. Oh and no small thing: it’s home to The Culinary Institute of America. I dined at Cured, a newish restaurant. While the architectural details of the restaurant were worthy of note, Chef Steven McHugh’s fare was flat-out fabulous. Then, on my last night in town, I decided to stay close by and had dinner at my Hotel Contessa’s restaurant, Las Ramblas. A wise choice. Charmingly sited on a terrace in a cozy corner of River Walk, it seemed like Chef Jordan Mackey was psychic as out came many of my food faves. Dinner: delectable; the River Walk parade of people: entertaining; my evening: a resounding success.

The One, The Only

Every great city has its noteworthy river. I mean, what would Paris be without the Seine or London without the Thames? However, there’s one city-defining body of water that takes the prize. Yes, that’s San Antonio and its famed River Walk. Dating from the 1940s, River Walk’s trail of cobblestone paths lined with sheltering trees, shops, gardens and restaurants meanders through the city and connects more than 2,000 acres of parkland. In fact, it is a living example of what a reclaimed city river can be. Teddy Roosevelt camped on its banks as he recruited his Rough Riders and the battle of the Alamo happened here. Julian Castro, past mayor of the city, has called the San Antonio River “the lifeblood of this community.” No argument there. San Antonio’s charms go deep, to the heart – and that’s just where my brilliant memories will stay.

If You Go: San Antonio:   www.visitsanantonio.com

To Do:                                                 To Eat:                                                To Stay:

San Antonio Museum of Art                 Cured                                                Hotel Contessa

samuseum.org                                        curedatpearl.com                          thehotelcontessa.com

The Alamo                                               Las Ramblas

thealamo.org                                           thehotelcontessa.com/las_ramblas

Fiesta Noche del Rio

fiestanochsa.com

If You Go: Austin :  www.austintexas.org

To Do:                                        To Eat:                                                To Stay:

Elephant Room                           Max’s Wine Dive                                    Courtyard & Residence Inn

elephantroom.com                    maxswinedive.com/austin                    marriott.com/ausrd

Austin Overtures Tour              LaV Restaurant

aotoursaustin.com                    lavaustin.com

Austin State Capitol

tspb.state.tx.us

LBJ Library

lbjlibrary.org

Three Destinations to Explore the Culture of America

The United States is impressively vast, ocean to ocean. There are mountain, plains, deserts, and various tropical destinations. All of these have formed some of the most diverse group of individuals well before settlers began arriving on the soil. The cultures formed well before modern times have continued to strive to this day; these places and culture harbor some of the best experiences for travelers.

imageThe following list is three of these destinations where you can explore new cultures and the wonderful locations that helped shape them to what they are today.

1: The French Side of Louisiana

Louisiana was once part of French control before being purchased but it gave the state enough time to instill French language and culture. In fact, there are distinct types of languages you may find in the area from French, Creole French, and Cajun French. Many have disregarded cities such as New Orleans but it’s one of the most prime locations in the United States to experience authentic French culture.

New Orleans is a little rough around the edges but you can expect:

·  Rides throughout the city via classic street cars

·  Explore the dark side by visiting a voodoo shop

·  Party hard during one of the many parades and events

·  Listen to the sounds of Jazz while chowing on Cajun/Creole food

Of course, Mardi Gras is the big attention getter for New Orleans but stopping in when it’s not happening is well worth the travel. Accommodations are easy to find, the food and people are great, and there is a real Southern, French vibe you can’t get anywhere else!

2: The Native Americans of the Chickasaw Nation

The Chickasaw Tribe lived in the Southeast (mainly around areas such as Mississippi, Alabama, and Kentucky) until they migrated to Oklahoma in 1832. The new land they found settlement on is now referred to as the Chickasaw Nation, which comprises a handful of counties toward the lower-middle region of the state.

Reasons for the destination:

·  Incredible views (from mountains, lakes, and waterfalls)

·  Thriving nightlife (from nightclubs and casinos)

·  Expansive dining (from high-end restaurants to basic bistros)

·  Community events (from dances to music)

The area has many different, fun activities for all ages. Its location is incredible for those who want to go off to the mountains on a hike and then come back to the city to experience real Native American culture.

3: The Latin Explosion that is Miami

Miami is a hot spot for play boys and play girls but really that’s only what most see on the surface having watched shows like Miami Vice. When you reach the city it is far different from what you can imagine. There is certainly the high rises and South Beach but beneath the media glitz is an expansive collection of Latin American cultures (all of which bring their unique flare you can’t find anywhere else).

Within South Florida (and especially in Miami) you’ll find:

·  Colombians

·  Cubans

·  Dominicans

·  Haitians

·  Hondurans

·  Nicaraguans

·  Puerto Ricans

Similar to how they say the United States is a melting pot – Miami is one that blends so many Latino cultures that you won’t have a lifetime to explore the various foods, traditions, and events what Miami has to offer (though it’s still worth the try!).

​Things to do in Sandpoint, ID in the summer

  • Drive up the Schweitzer Mountain road and visit the resort

About 12 miles from the city of Sandpoint, there is a gorgeous, windy mountain road. It is a 9 mile drive with drop offs and no guard rails, which makes you a bit anxious, but it is definitely a fun drive to the top. When you arrive, there is a resort with its village and the beautiful sceneries of the lake Pend Oreille.

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The village offers several boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Enjoy the beautiful sunny weather. Go for a hike up to the top. Relax, and have a drink or a coffee at the Coyote Ugly Cafe. There are also a few great restaurants for casual dining or fine dining in the village, such as The Chimney Rock Grill. The Coyote Ugly Cafe is a good place to have a coffee and some great sandwiches.

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You have the most spectacular views of Lake Pend Oreille from the top. If you are brave enough, you can ride down the mountain on a bike and climb back up. This usually opens for the summer around the 27th of June. Take the mechanical lift to the top and admire the beauty of the region for free if you get there for the opening day on the 27th of June 2014. Summer on the mountain is calmer without big crowds, and when night falls, it seems like you own your own resort. It is quiet, less populated, isolated, and lots of fun. If you come there for vacation, you will enjoy the laid back atmosphere with activities ranging from tennis, mountain biking, and hiking to taking lifts to the top of the mountain, having a hot tub in each room, and enjoying the gorgeous romantic nights.

  • Go to City Beach for a Swim

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The city beach is the place to be when you are in town, especially on a hot summer day. It’s a great place to go for a swim, sun tanning, and other activities (such as walking along the lake and playing tennis or beach ball). Kids have their own playground next to the beach with lifeguards on duty, so that you can enjoy a fun day at the beach. It is a laid back atmosphere with friendly people and great waters. The sceneries are spectacular. The portion of Lake Pend Oreille is so big that it feels like an ocean. This is the 3rd deepest lake in the Nation, with 111 miles of shorelines. The water is relatively warmer than other local places with a limited activity area for swimming. If you have rented a boat, go have fun at the lake. You can fish or simply enjoy going for a ride. The parking area can support 250 cars and has an area for trucks with trailers and RV parking. The great thing is that parking is free, and no dogs are allowed at the beach or park.

  •  Take a Cruise on the Lake

IMGP5317Cruises leave at the city beach, so that you can enjoy the 43 mile long lake with its breathtaking scenery on a Shawnodese chartering vessel. There are different types of cruises available, both private and public, including: daily lake cruises, river lunch cruises, eagle watching cruises, and more. Please check the website for further scheduling and pricing for the summer:

  •  Go for a Hike or bike ride

Park your car at city beach or by the Conaco gas station, and go for a long bridge walk, hike, or bike ride. The path is paved all the way across the bridge. The 2 mile long walkway is spectacular along Lake Pend Oreille and continues along the bridge next to the freeway 95. It is an easy walk with spectacular views of the lake. The only downside is that sometimes the traffic on 95 spoils the walk. Check out the video attached to this section for details. The beginning of the path is shaded, but that disappears as you reach the long bridge all the way to the other side. If you walk, it would be a 1.5 -2 hour walk back for the 4 mile round trip.

Other hiking trails include:

Evans Landing trail – 2 mile trail

Maiden Rock Trail – 2 mile steep

Mikeinnick Trail – 7 Mile round trip

The 3.7 mile Gold hill trail is the most popular among local bikers and hikers. It can be moderate to strenuous. Start the trailhead on Bottle bay road 8 miles south of Sandpoint.

Mineral Point Interpretive Trail contours along Lake Pend Oreille about 14 miles south of Sandpoint near Garfield Bay, with magnificent views across the lake to the Green Monarchs.

  •  Enjoy Downtown and the Restaurants

ffWalk the downtown area and enjoy this unique beach town atmosphere, with its small boutiques and festive streets. Go for a small walk, rent a bike, or get a great cup of coffee or a meal. Even Brothers Coffee Place is a great place to have a great cup of coffee and relax. There are a great deal of worthy restaurants in town, such as Trinity at City beach, or Joel’s for Mexican food. If you enjoy beers, there are two microbreweries you can find: The Laughing Dog Brewing in Ponderay at 1109 Fontaine Road, and Mikeduff’s Brewing Company in downtown Sandpoint at 312 N. 1st Ave.

  • Visit a Museum

There are two museums in town:

The Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center is open year round, with free admission. Its goal is to educate visitors about the historic contributions of aviators and innovators who have helped create modern technology, and to celebrate these individuals.

The Boner County Historical Museum is located at 611 Ella Street. Displays include Native American artifacts, an extensive collection of Ross Hall photos, a pioneer kitchen, and more. They offer free admission on the 1st Saturday of every month, and are open year round.

  •  Other

Other activities include golfing (there are 2 courses available), kayaking, rafting, and shopping.

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Sandpoint, Idaho is a great place to vacation for a fun summer, whether you are alone or with family. Lake Pend Oreille provides you with all the fun activities necessary to spend a fantastic summer with warm weather, nice food, and a friendly atmosphere.

Have a great summer!

Scottsdale’s Winter “Sun”derland

Travel Brigade visits Scottsdale, Arizona, for a sunny getaway. On this radio podcast, we’ll chat about great resorts, relaxing spas, championship golf courses and restaurants that give Southwestern fare a fun new twist. Click below for an Arizona adventure.

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Enjoy the trip! Follow us on Twitter @TravelBrigade.

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Explore the Rivieras of the World

Everyone has heard of the French Riviera and everyone has heard of the Italian Riviera, but did you know there are loads more Rivieras around the world. Why not hop in your yacht and explore the quieter Rivieras in the world. If you can’t afford your own yacht, why not think of a new career as a yacht crew man.

Join me as I go through some of the less well known Rivieras.

Santa Barbara – USA

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The self-styled America Riviera, Santa Barbara is found in the state of California and one of the reasons that it takes the name Riviera is because its climate has been described as being very similar to the Mediterranean. The city has an approximate population of 88,000 as of the last census. The city is a vital part of Californian tourism and is an important power politically.

Santa Barbara is a centre for the arts in this part of California, which means you should pop in and have a look at what Santa Barbara has to offer, from the performing arts to museums, Santa Barbara has it all, however if the arts aren’t your bag, then why not enjoy a host of restaurants, a beautiful wharf, or even the zoo.

The Gold Coast – Australia

Gold_Coast_Convention_and_Exhibition_Centre

Okay, not exactly a hidden gem or a Riviera, most people have heard of the Gold Coast, but still, it’s one of the most picturesque places to take your shiny new yacht to. The Gold Coast is a coastal city in the southern eastern part of Queensland, which is on found on the east coast of Australia.

The Gold Coast attracts many surfers to its stunning beaches (if you want proof, they even named one of their beaches Surfer’s Paradise), however surfing isn’t the only thing the Gold Coast offers for its 10 million annual tourists. The city is famed for its music, including its orchestra and music festivals, it boasts a world class ballet company, film studios, and the city has a good foot in many sports.

Torbay – United Kingdom

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Maybe not as exotic as the previous two, but just as lovely. England has a quiet beauty to it, and you’ll love the quaint-ness of Torbay. The Torbay area consists of three towns: Torquay, Paignton, and Brixham.

Here’s a list of some famous people from the area:

There’s history in Torbay as well, as scientist found 4 human skeletons, which they deduced must be the oldest found modern humans in the whole of Europe. This has always been one of the main reasons that England has remained a popular tourist destination: the history.

Set Sail

If you owned or worked on a yacht there’s no end to where you can go. I’ve just gone through 3 suggestions, but there’s hundred and thousands of places to visit and like I said earlier, if you can’t afford a yacht, then consider working on one, if you want more information, check this site out: onboardonline.com as it has information for anyone looking to sail the seven seas.

Get on board and feel the wind in your hair. If you have you own boat then you owe it to yourself to get out there and see the world in all its glory. If you leave it sat in some marina gathering barnacles, it’s going to waste! Lift up that anchor and explore!

Santa Barbara: From the Mission to the Funk Zone

Visit Santa Barbara on this Travel Brigade podcast episode to enjoy beaches, boats and bikes in a town full of great dining and fun hotel options near the ocean. Click on the button below to go from the historic Mission overlooking the ocean to the Urban Wine Trail in the “Funk Zone,” to glamping in the beautiful hills of El Capitan Canyon to shopping on State Street, Santa Barbara is the perfect town to hang out and soak up the beautiful sunny weather. We’ll also tell you how you can enjoy all sorts of discounts on hotels, dining and activities by pledging to go “Car Free” in a town that’s easy to get around. Enjoy the trip! Follow us on Twitter @TravelBrigade.

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Top 5 Things To Do In San Francisco

San Francisco

San Francisco

1. Watch Chocolate Being Made At Ghirardelli Square! 

In the wake of appreciating an outing at Aquatic Beach you can head up the mount to Ghirardelli Square. It’s a little move to the highest point of the knoll – your children will most likely gripe like mine did – however you can pay off them with a bit of free chocolate they are continually distributing at Ghirardelli Square right outside their store. Get your chocolate and rest and after that visit the cover of the dessert shop and watch chocolate being made. It simply makes me need to bounce in and begin drinking it! This is an exceptional spot to enjoy a reprieve and appreciate a few marvelous desserts additionally. 

2. Leave The San Francisco Municipal Pier. 

Adore the sea and you can truly get out over it without actually getting on a pontoon when you go out for a stroll on the wharf. Head off to the closure of Beach Street and after that head to the Bay and you will discover the San Francisco Municipal Pier. It’s made of bond of and extremely solid and safe. You can go out to the finish and get an incredible perspective of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Prison. You will fundamentally be encompassed by water on three sides. Your children additionally may get a kick out of the chance to look in the plastic cans of locals crabbing off this dock. 

3. Take A Segway Tour. 

In the event that your children are twelve and more advanced in years this is truly enjoyable to do. It’s somewhat pricey however I think it was worth the cash for me. Offered by the San Francisco Electric Company complete with 45 minutes of security and preparing. You can figure out how to ride a Segway, research San Francisco history and take an extraordinary tour of the waterfront all in around the range of two to three hours. I cherished this tour since the workers they have are quite amicable and supportive and the tour was a completely distinctive approach to see the city. 

4. Watch Street Performers along Fishermen’s Wharf. 

You never know who will be there when you are going to the San Francisco waterfront yet this is truly one of my most loved San Francisco things to do. Assuming that your children are tired and would prefer not to cookout at Aquatic Beach then you can purchase them lunch and thud them before some road entertainers while they chomp away and overlook their sore legs. I have seen jazz players, break dance lovers, musical performers playing music to offer their CD’s and pantomimes. Your children will love it so don’t only stroll on by. Require some serious energy to stop and delight in their abilities and this neighborhood flavor. 

5. Take A Tour Of Alcatraz Prison.

This ought to be number one on your San Francisco things to do record. Anyone may as well ever leave San Francisco without going by Alcatraz. Where else in the United States would you be able to take your children to a past elected prison for a visit? Make a point to arrange far ahead of time by acquiring your tickets on-line. Simply Google Alcatraz Tours and purchase your tickets on-line, print them out and you will spare yourself a considerable measure of time and harass. That is the thing that I did when I took my Alcatraz tour.

Vacationing on the Beautiful Island of Maui, Hawaii

Sunrise at Haleakala Crater – A beautiful Paradise Island with flowers, good food, warm sunshine, and beaches. Walking along the beach of Kanapalii in Maui is an unforgettable experience. My Dream Vacation Wow, what a beautiful view. I was finally here, my dream vacation to the beautiful Hawaiian Island of Maui.

Welcome to Maui

Welcome to Maui

As we approached the Kahalui Airport, the view out the window was breathtaking. My daughter had arranged for a shuttle to take me to the Kaanapali Alii Resort where they were waiting for me. Ka’anapali Alii Resort At Ka’anapali Alii you never have to leave the resort area; everything you need is within walking distance, including restaurants, shopping, swimming, walks on the beach. Whether you like to swim in the ocean or pool, it’s there waiting for you. Surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing on the ocean, taking a cruise out whale watching, or just lying in the sun or building a castle in the sand, it’s all right there. If you venture to cross the Honoapi’ilani Highway, there is the Royal Ka’anapali Golf Course with a breathtaking view of the ocean, for those that enjoy the sport. There is fun for the whole family.

Hawaii 013Daily Walks Along the Beach I was showered and dressed ready for my morning walk along the beach by 7:00 am. How refreshing to get up early and take a walk while the dew is still on the ground. Walking along the trail by the beach is so relaxing. The beautiful hibiscus flowers along the way were red, yellow and pink. Stopping every now and then, I looked out over the ocean and watched the boats as the crew prepared for their day in the water. Later I took Isabel for a walk in her stroller. We walked along the path, stopping every now and then to look at a waterfall or to watch the birds walking around on the beach. Isabel and I went back to the condo to change to our swimwear and head to the pool and beach for the afternoon. While Isabel and her mom and dad prefer the pool, I prefer the beach and ocean. Isabel, Terra, and Austin joined me later for some play time in the ocean. Isabel loves for them to take her in the deep water and pass her back and forth between them as she squeals with laughter. I enjoy just standing back and watching them enjoy the water. Fine Outdoor Dining The restaurants are superb. The first night there we walked down to Whalers Village where we dined outdoors, at the Leilani’s on the beach restaurant.

Hawaii 035The next morning we drove across the highway and up the hill to a quaint little village atmosphere where we had breakfast at a local diner. We also ate breakfast at the Cane & Taro restaurant which is located at the entrance to Whalers Village. The Hula Grill and Barefoot Bar and Grill is another great beach restaurant where you can dine outdoors barefoot with sand between your toes. There is nothing like relaxing and eating in the great outdoors on the beach with a marvelous view of the ocean and listening to the waves.

Hawaii 008(1)These are just a few of the great restaurants in the Ka’anapali area with fresh fish and delicious food. Whalers Village Shopping Before dining at one of the exquisite beach restaurants you can stroll around Whalers Village and do a little shopping. There are several unique gift shops, such as Totally Hawaiian Gift Gallery with scented glycerin soaps, lava glass items, and Abalone boxes among other Hawaiian gifts. Several kids clothing stores which include Blue Ginger Kids, Cinnamon Girl, and Tommy Bahama, with boys’ aloha shirts and little girls’ beach dresses. I loved the Honolua Wahine store, with all the beautiful swimwear. Several booths are set up throughout the outdoor mall. You can even pick out your fresh pearl and have it set up as a ring, necklace or bracelet. These are only a few of the many stores in Whalers Village. Then if you get hungry and just need to grab a quick bite, walk down the steps to McDonald’s Express, Dragon Wall Express or Mr. Sub/Mr. Taco. Hawaiian Luau with Authentic Dances We attended a luau next door at the Weston Hotel. This was an experience I never dreamed of getting to participate in. It was wonderful and relaxing. The entertainment was awesome, with all the Hawaiian music, dances and fire. It’s amazing what they can do and the stories they tell with their hands and movements. Haleakala National Park and Seeing the Volcano at Sunrise You don’t want to go to Maui without venturing off the resort and doing some sightseeing. We ventured out of bed at 3:00 am to drive to Haleakala National Park to catch the sunrise at the Haleakala Crater at 6:37 am.

Road to Hana 021This was the most spectacular sunrise I had ever seen. It was very windy and cold, but well worth it to experience the beautiful view. Looking down into a dark volcano was kind of scary, but exhilarating just thinking of the magnitude of all this. On the way back down the mountain, we stopped at the Kula Lodge for breakfast and shopping in the little general store located there. Shopping in Lahaina The day before we were scheduled to head back to San Francisco, California, we took a trip down the road to Lahaina.

This is a beautiful quaint little town by the ocean with unique dining, art, and shopping. I bought my little granddaughter, Isabel, a beautiful little Hawaiian sundress and my grandson, Lincoln, an adorable little Hawaiian shorts and shirt, very reasonably priced. I also bought souvenirs for everyone, including myself. Experience of a Lifetime My week on the lovely island of Maui was wonderful. An experience of a lifetime. I could live here, it is so beautiful and the weather is perfect. So relaxing and refreshing. Maybe someday I will return and bring my husband with me. There is so much more I want to see that I did not have time to see on this trip, such as the waterfalls.