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Search Results for: Garden Tours


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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 elaborate development later, and the wealthiest of Romans built enormous gardens, many of whose ruins are still to be seen, such as at Hadrian’s Villa Byzantium and Moorish Spain kept garden traditions alive after the 4th century.… Read more


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Friday, November 22, 2013

Baked Goods at Victoria Pastry in San Francisco

My husband and I are fans of food. Lots and lots of different kinds of food. We have enjoyed a fabulous gourmet restaurant in Las Vegas and a beachside hamlet in Mexico where he had his very first Corona. We love it all. But it’s difficult, time-consuming and expensive to attempt to sample a variety of restaurants in the many places we visit, so we have figured out the perfect solution – local foodie tours. For roughly the price of one nice restaurant meal, you can enjoy samples (some quite substantial) at a variety of restaurants, bakeries and other, more unique venues like vinegar and oil shops and chocolatiers. It’s also a great introduction to a location as the tour guides are invariably knowledgeable about the area. Foodie tours are a great way to find the best local specialties – and determine which you location you want to return to and sample even more goodies!… Read more


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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

If you love nature and enjoy getting a great workout, a hiking tour may be for you. Hiking tours, or trekking tours as they are sometimes known, are about much more than just walking. The most intensive treks can take days to complete, and they take you to exciting places only  reached by foot. With trekking tours, you can explore caves, remote mountain peaks, and villages seen by only a handful of travelers – you can go just about anywhere.

Trekking tours are extremely flexible and versatile, allowing you to choose the style of hiking, sights you want to see, and intensity of the exercise. Not surprisingly, hiking tours provide an excellent way to improve your fitness – a 130-pound person carrying a 20-pound backpack can burn more than 1,300 calories on a four-hour hike. Trekking improves the condition of your heart, immune system, and bone density while building endurance and strength.… Read more


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Thursday, May 19, 2011

The growing popularity of motorcycle or vespa touring is evident when you consider that such tours are now offered in almost every country in the world. But can’t you just ride off on your own without help? Sure, although reasons to work with a travel consultant to find a first rate tour operator are very compelling.

Three major advantages immediately stand out: First, tour operators are experienced in their destinations, know the lay of the land and can lead you to places and roads you might otherwise miss on your own. You’ll see areas other visitors may never discover.

Secondly, by carefully selecting and arranging lodging and dining throughout the tour, riders are freed up from taking valuable vacation time to worry about where they’ll spend the night and where they will find the best meals.

Thirdly, should you choose to travel with others from a tour group, tours give riders the chance to enjoy the company of others, often from around the world.… Read more


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Sunday, June 5, 2011

I know you. You would rather watch the History Channel than American Idol. Old copies of National Geographic are some of your best friends and occupy precious countertop and desk space in your home. You have seen Indiana Jones I and III (but not II) several times. You are not a tourist: you like to immerse yourself in the cultures you visit, to experience a destination from an insider’s point of view. You sometimes wish you had taken that college archeology course when you had the chance.

Sound familiar? If so, it’s time to think about exploring your next destination with a tour focused on either archeology or anthropology. Such cultural exploration tours provide an opportunity to gain real insights into a people and place. Archeology is the study of humanity and its past by gleaning information from the artifacts the culture left behind, whether the trail consists of grand monuments and buildings to garbage and rubble.… Read more


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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 focuses on the Christian tradition in the Mediterranean region.  The purpose is to acquaint you with the basics of planning, booking and preparing for a trip to the holy land: that area of the Mediterranean important to the history and heritage of Christianity.… Read more


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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 us by name.… Read more


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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Whether you are an aspiring chef or simply an epicure, culinary travel promises the opportunity to truly savor your vacation. This growing trend of experiencing authentic cooking and dining around the world allows you to broaden your education and your palate at the same time. What a decadent way to travel!

The genre of culinary travel includes trips that focus on learning to create local dishes, those that emphasize tasting and wine pairing, and everything in between. As you can see, there are many options available. Let this Travelhoppers guide assist in your planning, as it will provide you with the basic recipe for culinary travel. With it, you and your travel consultant are sure to cook up the perfect culinary adventure!

The most important consideration in planning your culinary vacation is whether you want to learn traditional recipes and cooking techniques, or if you’re more interested in enjoying the end result. Those wanting a strictly educational experience might enjoy cooking alongside famous chefs in renowned cooking schools.… Read more

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Albet i Noya Organic Vineyard

Almost everyone agrees: some very tasty wine comes from Spain. As a Barcelona resident with “localvore” tendencies, I mostly buy bottles from nearby Emporda, Priorat and Penedès. Of the three, Penedès is the most established and also closest to the city, making it an effortless option for a wine-tasting day-trip.

When locals think Penedès, they think “cava.” Cava, if you haven’t been lucky enough to sip it yet, is like champagne but from Catalonia. It’s a sparkling white wine that pairs well with appetizers or desserts. The cava epicenter of Penedès is Sant Sadurní, a sweet little town with more bodegas, or cellars, than cafés. Sant Sadurní is an excellent place to begin tasting what Penedès has to offer, but for a real in-depth experience in the countryside, you must call Paddy.


Irish expat and wine expert Paddy Mannion has been in Catalonia for about 20years sipping fine-bubble cavas and examining ruby wine hues in Penedès’ finest bodegas.… Read more


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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thirty miles south of London, and halfway to England’s South coast, lies the Weald — an area of outstanding natural beauty dating back to the Saxons of 900 AD. Visiting the Seven Wonders of the Weald, I started my journey in the gorgeous Kentish village of Penshurst, where one of England’s most outstanding stately homes can be found — Penshurst Place.

Built in the 1300s, Penshurst has been home to Kings and Noblemen for 650 years. Its impressive halls, staterooms and galleries are filled with medieval portraits, tapestries, Indo-Portuguese furniture, porcelain and armour, with rock-crystal chandeliers hanging off every hammer-beamed ceiling, which goes to explain why it’s been used as a location in numerous period movie sets. The house itself is a perfectly preserved fortified manor house which acts as a magnificent backdrop to an 11-acre Elizabethan garden – the jewel in the Penshurst crown. Spending a day at Penshurst is a relaxing, especially for children as the grounds are ideal for picnic lunches with an adventure play area and a toy museum.… Read more


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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Mother’s Day will be here before we know it and I can guarantee that most mothers would adore a getaway with you more than any other present you can imagine. Hotels and resorts are perfectly lovely, but there is nothing as comfortable, charming, and unique as a stay at a quality Bed and Breakfast location. Fireplaces, whirlpool tubs, comfy beds, and a full gourmet breakfast make them the perfect choice for that special trip. Here are some of my favorite choices – now make your own reservation!

Welcome to the Villa D’Citta!


1. Villa D’Citta in Chicago, Illinois: You will have plenty of choices for places to stay in the Windy City, but this gorgeous Chicago Greystone in the middle of the luxurious Lincoln Park neighborhood should be your first choice. Park in the garage (a former carriage house), then walk through the outside grotto and climb up the winding metal staircase up to a large, outside hot tub.… Read more


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Monday, May 30, 2011

If you are an avid photographer, and your local neighborhood is starting to be a bit too familiar for you and your camera, it just might be time to consider a photography tour. A truly one-of-a-kind experience, photography tours give you a hands-on opportunity to develop or refine your skills as a photographer while traveling to some of the most amazing destinations across the globe.

Prospective photography tour participants have many options. Whether you’re a South America enthusiast or a historical European landmarks buff, there’s a tour for you. Whether you’re a seasoned, professional photographer or a novice picking up a camera for the first time, there’s a tour that caters to your level of experience. The wide range of possible tours and travel arrangements makes it possible for anyone who loves travel and photography to bring both of these interests together and into focus.

Photography tours can also offer much more.… Read more


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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Key West Aerial View by Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau

Key West is described as the southernmost city giving visitors a taste of the Caribbean without even leaving the US. The tourist board even states Key West is a “unique tropical island city.” However it is defined, Key West is alluring, entertaining and peaceful all at the same time with sightseeing tours conducted on conch trains down roads lined with Colonial houses.

Chugging Train, Key West by Nadia Ali

The Conch Train

One of the coolest things to see is the conch train chugging its way through the streets of Key West. It originally began back in 1958 by Bill and Olive Kroll and has become a signature attraction. Visitors can take a 90-minute tour on the tourist trolley which gives a somewhat rough ride compared to the smooth ride of cars today. It has just four stops and the tour guide gives the ins and out of the historical town and points of interest.… Read more


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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 one or both of these questions, consider taking a bicycle tour of Napa Valley.… Read more