Search Results for: Garden Tours
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Located about 50 miles off the coast of Venezuela Bonaire is the “B” of the Dutch Caribbean “ABC Islands” (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) and has long been known among scuba enthusiasts as a diver’s paradise. (In fact, that slogan is emblazoned on their licence plates!) Due to the island’s forward thinking preservationists, all of its surrounding waters have been strictly environmentally protected which makes for resplendently healthy reefs and thriving marine life. Bonaire’s diving is seriously world class. But for non-divers, there’s also plenty to see and do.
Superb Snorkeling & Sealife Viewing
One of the best things about Bonaire is that you need not be PADI certified to enjoy the kind of thrilling marine life encounters that divers do. (Though once you have snorkeled there, you’ll want to learn to dive; this fish finding stuff is very addictive!) But even first-time snorkelers can enjoy the incredible Jacques Cousteau-ish world … Read more
Friday, February 22, 2013
Who has not been captivated by tales of knights and dragons, of medieval feuds, battles and betrayals? Serving as the backdrop for each of these stories is a castle. Visiting a castle can provide a playground for the imagination, allowing the mind to revel in legend and lore. Walking through grand halls past suits of armor, torches and tapestries, one cannot fathom so many stories embedded in stone. More than a getaway from the stresses of everyday life, castles have the ability to transport visitors to another time.
Castles come in all states of repair. Many are still occupied and many more hang on in some state of ruin. Each has its own personality, calling out to some hidden part of our curiosity about times shrouded in mist. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the spirits of those who occupied the halls of Europe’s castles beckon to us, calling … Read more
Thursday, January 17, 2013
When I think romance, I think boutique hotel. Give me something intimate and unique any day over some sprawling resort! Here are a few top seductive stays for honeymooners looking for R&R in Spain.
****Wine Country Escapes – Can Bonastre Resort:
Newlyweds will adore this exceptional boutique hotel, just an hour away from Barcelona, Spain, by car. Can Bonastre Wine Resort’s twelve rooms are set within an ancient Catalan masia, or farmhouse, in the middle of a working vineyard. Wine is made on site at Can Bonastre, and tours of the cellar can be arranged for guests. Try their award-winning reds at on-site Tribia Restaurant, which specializes in regional Catalan dishes with a twist.
Can Bonastre scores big time in the indulgence department because of their top-notch spa. You and your main-squeeze can arrange double massages or a Wine Therapy treatment for two at Acuba Spa. Along with treatments, Acuba … Read more
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
I vaguely knew there were barrier islands off the coast of Georgia and the Carolinas, but for years our family beach vacations had been to Pensacola, Florida where my grandmother lived. We rented a beach house out on Santa Rosa Island and enjoyed the beautiful white sand of the Florida Panhandle.
But when we heard from a friend that Tybee Island, Georgia was beautiful, secluded, and only a 10-hour drive from Lexington, Kentucky, where we live, we decided to give it a try. I was immediately sold when I discovered online that beach houses on Tybee rent for roughly half of what we had been paying in Pensacola. We got a beautiful 3-bedroom, 2 ½ half bath house with a large screened porch and hot tub which had an easy walk to the beach for only $2100 total. There’s a variety of accommodations on Tybee and plenty of realtors, but … Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
In a tranquil Belgian town, some 75km south-east of Brussels, set in a landscape of quilted willow green and sage and threaded with a broad aquamarine coloured river, lies historic Dinant, famed for being the birthplace of Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone. Dinant is a pretty little town slung along the river Meuse beneath craggy green cliffs in the centre of the Meuse Valley, about 30km south of Namur – a handy base for venturing into the surrounding countryside either by boat, bike or on foot.
Dinant is dominated by its two main buildings: the Citadel, which has been frowning over the town since the 11th century, is perched on a hundred metre high cliff; and the Cathedral of Notre Dame, outsized against the surrounding structures and capped by a bronze onion dome. The Cathedral of Notre Dame was built as a Romanesque church at the end of the … Read more
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Nothing quite surpasses nature’s design in southern California’s inland desert plains of cacti and boulders, bordered by rose and ochre mountains. At the same time, the modern world has contributed creatively in the flourishing towns that lie just off Highway 111 in this region. One such development on the human side that stands out these days is within Palm Desert, a desert community attuned to the civic and commercial benefits of a diverse art presence. For anyone visiting Palm Desert, here are some ways to access some of that local artistic and cultural innovation:
- Downtown Public Art – Palm Desert became the first in Riverside County to institute a public art program over two decades ago. Since then, city law has required all developers to place art in a publicly visible area or to pay a fee to the Art in Public Place fund for each new structure built.
… Read more
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Until the 2010 Olympic Games brought it to the attention of the world, Vancouver was a quiet British Columbia city that was often forgotten when planning vacations. The renovations and revitalization of city for the world’s biggest sporting event has left a region with great food, wine, culture and activities, all between the Pacific Ocean and the snowcapped mountains.
As you cross into Granville Island, the world changes quickly as you no longer feel like you are in big city. You won’t see a lot of cars on the road, but you will see people walking everywhere, checking out the boats (especially during prawn season in early spring). A good way to see it all is to take a walking tour with the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. They will tell you all about this quaint village, where you can take out a boat of your … Read more
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Let’s get a few things straight. First off, Oxford University is not in London. Oxford is in Oxford, approximately 60 miles northwest of the United Kingdom’s capital city. Secondly, there is no “campus”; the University is comprised of over three dozen colleges and private halls which are spread across the aptly named “city of dreaming spires.” Finally, the University was conceived as an institution of higher learning—one of the world’s most prestigious, in fact—and not as a tourist attraction, which may explain why the porters (who guard the entrance to each college) seem more like nightclub bouncers than eager, would-be tour guides.
That said, the city and its many quirks—from the ancient May Day incantations to the fiercely competitive “amateur” regattas— are as British as tea and crumpets. With the 2012 London Olympics just around the corner, Oxford is well worth the trip, especially if you can get past … Read more
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
The Maya Trail cuts through Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and even a bit of El Salvador. This is not a hiking trail, but a 1,500-mile imaginary loop with no beginning or end. Really, the Maya Trail is about hopping from one Maya site to the next depending on what you’re into. From Maya caves, to culture, to ruins, here are a few excellent hotels nearby worthwhile Maya sites.
1. Hacienda Uayamon – Yucatan, Mexico
The Maya ruin Edzna sits just down the road from Uayamon, an easy day-trip option. Other than ruin exploration, spa treatments, and relaxation, there isn’t much going on at Uayamon which is precisely why it’s so fabulous. Located well off the beaten Cancun track, visiting Uayamon is like stepping into a time machine and zipping off to a forgotten era. The hotel has been renovated and decorated in a traditional style similar to what the hacienda … Read more
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
For well over 2000 years, the peoples of three faiths have revered the near Middle East as a holy land. No area of the world has been more gifted with religious significance. Christian pilgrims have traveled to Israel, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Greece and Italy to achieve a fuller understanding of their religious heritage. The first pilgrims traveled a difficult path on the dangerous roads of the old Roman Empire. Today’s travelers will find their journey somewhat easier to achieve, but no less rewarding in the doing. It has often been said that travel is a journey of the soul as much as the body. Nowhere is this more true than in travel that expressly seeks out the core of a religious tradition.
More and more travelers are discovering the important role the geography and culture of the Middle East played in the development of their religions. This Travelhoppers guide … Read more
Saturday, February 25, 2012
There’s a simple requirement for anyone thinking of a garden tour: do you love gardens? If so, please read on. The cultivation of plants for food long predates history. The earliest evidence for ornamental gardens, however, is seen in Egyptian tomb paintings of the 1500s BC; they depict lotus ponds surrounded by rows of acacias and palms. The other ancient gardening tradition is from Persia. Darius the Great was said to have had a “paradise garden” and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were renowned as a Wonder of the World. Persian influences extended to post-Alexander’s Greece: around 350 BC there were gardens at the Academy of Athens, and Theophrastus, who wrote on botany, was supposed to have inherited a garden from Aristotle. The most influential ancient gardens in the western world were Ptolemy’s gardens at Alexandria.
The gardening tradition brought to Rome by Lucullus. Wall paintings in Pompeii attest to … Read more
Monday, February 6, 2012
Trying to impress that special someone? Consider these steamy Spanish stays to wine and dine your sweetheart.
1. Ski and Spa at Sant Roc Hotel, Solsona:
If romance and an adrenaline rush are one in the same for you and your sweetie, then a stay near the Spanish Pyrenees Mountains is the way to go. At the foothills of the Pyrenees, Solsona is an ancient village made up of stone houses and snug cafes. Spend your days on the slopes at Port de Comte ski station and evenings at the Sant Roc Hotel and Spa, a “modernista” building from the 20th century. After a day of snowy diversion you might opt for the Hydra Qi Spa’s “Sports Massage” (€45.00 for 40 minutes) or their Stone Therapy Massage (€80.00 for 80 minutes). Prior to a rub down, hit their waterworks area to try the sauna, starry sky steam room, sensory showers, … Read more
Friday, November 4, 2011
San Francisco has a lot to offer to both tourists and locals. Take a ride on a cable car, be awe inspired by the ingenuity of the Golden Gate Bridge, eat a noodle bowl in Chinatown- there are so many places to explore and experience. These sites attract thousands every year, but they may not be the type of memories everyone is looking for. Are you a resident of San Francisco who wants to find something new to do for the weekend? Or perhaps you are planning a trip to the Golden Gate city and want to skip the typical tourist attraction? No matter the reason, the following two day trips are sure to make your time a little more memorable.
Do you like to stay active? Are you likely to be found sipping wine at home with friends a couple nights a week? If the answer is yes to … Read more
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Sand…sun…sea; the checklist to the perfect summer break. The trouble with settling on which beach to choose is that usually everyone else has discovered it as well. If you prefer your slice of sandy heaven to come without being sandwiched in by the sun lounger crowds, plan a beach break with a difference in one of the forgotten corners of coastline below.
Ninety Mile Beach – New Zealand
It may be famous in New Zealand but most overseas visitors have never heard of Ninety Mile Beach when they step off the plane. This swoop of golden sand and billowing dunes traces a sandy finger along the western side of the country’s top end. Stretching from Kaitaia to Scott’s Point, the name may be a misnomer (it actually runs for 55 miles) but its sheer breadth is still staggering. On a beach this long you’re sure to find a secluded spot … Read more