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Monday, July 18, 2011

“Then you flew your Lear jet up to Nova Scotia
To see the total eclipse of the sun”
- Carly Simon “You’re So Vain”

Carly Simon sang about it, but you can really do it, and you don’t need your own jet. Astronomical tours focus on the observations of the heavens from terrestrial destinations possessing permanent or temporary geographic advantages for watching particular celestial events or phenomenon.

Most of the civilized world suffers from “light pollution”, whereby man-made light dilutes and washes out the much more distant lights of planets and stars. Thus, the best possible sky gazing is done far from the pernicious effects of artificial light in more remote locations. Likewise, the higher the altitude, the better the viewing as there is less of earth’s atmosphere between the traveler and the heavens. Thus, the ultimate destination is one where the sought after phenomenon is viewable, far from artificial light, at as high an altitude as possible.… Read more


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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Travel is about access to new and different possibilities. To those individuals with physical or medical disabilities, however, the word “access” takes on an a multi-dimensional meaning. Accessible travel is a goal, an adventure, a state of mind. Increasingly, accessible travel is a concern for the tens of thousands of senior adults that are now seeking new experiences in all corners of the globe. As used here, “accessible travel” means travel that takes into consideration both the physical and cost hurdles that often face those with physical or mental impairment.

There is a growing awareness on the part of destinations and tour operators of the economic impact of failing to adequately compensate for accessible travel. As a result, more travel than ever falls into the general category of “accessible”. Nevertheless, a bit of planning is always in order when deciding on a vacation, where you must condsider issues such as wheelchair or scooter acces or if restaurants allow service animals.… Read more

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Balboa Park, just outside Automotive Museum.

A century ago, the world came to San Diego – an amazing feat, considering that much of the world did not know San Diego existed. The occasion was the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. Its purpose was to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal.

In 1915, San Diego, today the eighth largest city in the United States, was Lilliputian with a population of roughly 32,000. Both San Francisco and Los Angeles had a few hundred thousand citizens each; San Francisco was even hosting a dueling expo, the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. But on July 9th, 1909, prominent San Diego banker G. Aubrey Davidson formally suggested that his city, a toddling beach community located in the big toe of the Golden State, host an exhibition in 1915 to celebrate the man-made marvel’s opening. If the event made the city a household name and helped it bounce back from the economic Panic of 1907, so much the better.… Read more


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Monday, April 18, 2011

Photo: Courtesy Franklin D. Resort & Spa

The Caribbean conjures up images of blue skies and blue oceans where long deserted stretches of sandy beaches welcome one and all. When you think of the Caribbean what island comes to mind, perhaps, the ever popular Puerto Rico, beautiful Barbados or maybe arousing Aruba? Let’s face it, the list is endless and the more you look at one island the more appealing it is. But when the special occasion of Mother’s Day comes around only Jamaica can allure you with attractive resort packages that will have mom feeling like a queen.

Unlike other resorts, Franklin D. Resort and Spa in Ocho Rios, Montego Bay has an annual Mother’s Day special for new Moms of babies who are under three months old. The package is called ‘Wee Baby Moon’ and it is a celebration of the wee baby that has just blessed your family and as such, not only do Mom and baby stay free but up to 2 children under the age of 16 years old.… Read more


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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Exterior view – Fort Christiansvaern, Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI. (Credit: courtesy – USVI Department of Tourism)

It wasn’t that long ago in human history when many of the islands of the Caribbean had to be well fortified due to the wider conflicts between the kingdoms and empires of Europe and even closer within the blossoming Americas. The surviving legacy of these earlier eras often includes some fascinating forts across the region which reflect those defensive needs. Impressive architectural exterior detail, often along with well-preserved interiors, all provide insight into daily life and customs of those more turbulent times.

Getting there? The following forts are easy enough to access, located either in or near the capital, even sometimes within walking distance from urban centers. You can also find them within reach through guided tours. Once there, observe not only the architectural grandeur but also the often exhilarating vistas of town, shoreline and even island interior.… Read more

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Does your winter warm-weather search include a stop in San Diego? If it doesn’t, it should. Mild winters make this destination a favorite for anyone seeking an escape from snow and cold. It’s not uncommon to go walking on the beach on Christmas Day in flip-flops and shorts or jogging on New Year’s in a tank top.

View from the trails at Torrey Pines State Park above Del Mar

What’s good for you is good for Fido, too. San Diego is emerging as an extremely dog-friendly destination with a number of hotel properties allowing dogs in guest rooms. As a result, many December, January and February visitors to the land of Shamu and the World-Famous San Diego Zoo are bringing their four-legged companions to enjoy a little of that winter warmth in California’s furthest southern city.

The San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau even keeps a running list of various dog-friendly activities and special offers from participating hotels.… Read more

Friday, January 13, 2012

If you want to hit the slopes in the famed Laurentian Mountains, check out Quebec City’s cool Winter Carnival, or celebrate snow in magnificent Montreal, you need not leave your four-legged friends behind! Here are some spots where pets are as welcome as human guests…

Dog-friendly Domain Summum

Domain Summum
This lovely little resort on a private lake less than an hour from Montreal is not only dog-friendly, but a pet owner’s dream! The owner Birgit Shultz has eight four-legged friends of her own (nine if you count the cat who thinks he runs the place), and is a breeder of Bernese Mountain dogs. All the accommodations are gorgeous country comfort and luxury, made of natural wood with some stand alone cabins and a clubhouse that sleeps 18 people and up to 8 dogs. There is a huge doggie playground and lots of room to romp in the woods. There is also a kennel called Woof B&B (Bed & Biscuits) and new special packages called SPAWS that will also offer bubble baths, treat menus, and more.… Read more


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Friday, February 18, 2011

An increasing number of couples are choosing destination weddings over traditional “white gown and rehearsal dinner” weddings. Destination weddings provide a fun opportunity to reunite family and friends in a truly amazing setting or to celebrate a private ceremony in an unforgettable locale. With destination weddings representing approximately ten percent of all weddings, it is easier to find more cruise lines and resorts offering robust and attractively priced packages especially designed for wedding parties.

But destination weddings take considerable planning, and the best accommodations are not always available to last minute shoppers. The earlier you begin to plan your wedding, and the more experienced and professional assistance you have, the greater your chances of pulling off a hassle-free, exotic wedding. Use this guide as an introduction to destination weddings that you can take to your travel agent to begin planning your own personal idea of perfection. A professional travel consultant skilled in the details of destination weddings is invaluable.… Read more


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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Europe is not only a land of architectural marvels but also one of culinary wonders. But exploring the gastronomy of some European countries can be a challenge for vegetarians and vegans. Meat very often dominates the menu and the concepts of vegetarianism and veganism are still somewhat alien, especially in countries like Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal.

Consider the reaction I got from a waiter in a Brussels café last summer. After quickly scanning the menu and not seeing anything which did not include meat, chicken or seafood, I asked if there was a vegetarian dish available. “Yes, we have tagliatelle with shrimp!” he suggested cheerfully. When I pointed out that shrimp is not exactly vegetarian, he looked clearly confused. “Oh, then you must be vegan!” he concluded.

The most veggie-friendly country in Europe by far is the UK which has the largest vegetarian population in Europe. This is a country where folks frown at fur and stand up for animal rights.… Read more


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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

In 1872, Yellowstone National Park became the first national park in the United States. Today, there are 390 areas under the National Park domain. Every state with the exception of Delaware has some National Park Service land. This land includes national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, lake and sea shores, rivers, trails, historic sites, and the White House.

The National Park system provides plenty of opportunity for a variety of vacations and tours. Well over 250,000,000 people visit these sites every year. From educational tours, back-to-nature experiences to relaxing seaside vacations, the plethora of opportunities for recreation at the National Parks is endless.

Use this article to assist you in planning your visit to a National Park. Whether you are flying or driving, your travel consultant can assist you with transportation choices, accomodations along the way and at the park, as well as with very important travel advice that will keep you focused on your vacation and visit rather than on the logistics of travel.… Read more

 Air Travel

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

As you board the plane, you get that feeling of being special upon hearing those words from the hostess, “Welcome onboard,” as they guide you to your seat. It’s at this point that all economy passengers no longer feel special as they begin the painstaking walk through the first-class section. Some gawk at the ergonomically designed lie-flat seats, others glare at the array of top-quality glossy magazines and others eyeball all the fingertip technology.

Photo By Nadia Ali

In an instant, it’s all over as you sit almost in a crouching position in your economy seat.

So, now you’ve seen how the other half lives, how do you get it without spending any more money or frequent flier miles?


When you arrive at the airport and begin the check–in process, you can ask the counter staff to be put on the upgrade list. Yes, this does exist, but of course, there are no guarantees that you will get your desired seat.… Read more


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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Nowadays in the Caribbean, an all-inclusive resort experience does not have to mean that your own special interest in travel  gets lost in the wider shuffle.  Big no longer translates to a lack of attention or absence of  options for your own travel focus. This is certainly the case around the island of Jamaica – where the all-inclusive hotel concept is said to have originated back in the Sixties – and where that same  concept has since evolved to include travelers who require an hotel experience built around a major life event – such as a marriage,  honeymoon, romantic getaway or active travel interest.  Consider any of these three major name inclusive resorts – from Ocho Rios to Montego Bay to Negril – that have built an identity with a strong connection to a lifestyle or life event.

Ocho Rios

ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios – tennis and all-purpose courts (credit: Hal Peat)

ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios – Playing on Court to Riding on Waves

The resort town of Ocho Rios is a longtime leader not only on Jamaica but within the wider Caribbean for its choice in attractions and accommodation, finding the right choice in onsite and nearby outdoor action sport can be challenging if your travel days are limited.… 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

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A seven a.m. departure from Dover, a UK sea port, will have you across the English Channel in France’s Boulogne  just over an hour later, giving us just sufficient time to freshen up, take in a coffee (and a patisserie) and plan our morning. This ferry service is run by LD Lines which delivers its passengers to the quay at the foot of Boulogne’s town centre in just over an hour (midweek crossings are cost effective, check www.ldlines.com for special offers; if you prefer speed, check out prices on www.eurotunnel.com).

I first discovered Boulogne some years ago whilst on a week-long road trip down France’s west coast. Now that I live near Dover, I regularly visit Boulogne for its organic farmers’ market – which is like nothing on offer in the UK – on Dalton Place, adjacent to the Church of Saint Nicolas. From local farm cheeses, to home-made honey and jams; fish soup and racks of lamb; strings of garlic, chicory, vegetables and flowers – it’s all there.… Read more