British Blooms at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens

My plan, upon finding myself in London with a day off, was to indulge my inner Downton Abbey fan with a trip to Highclere Castle. The Jacobethan “country home” that housed the fictitious Grantham clan was, however, closed until spring so I decided to trudge from my friend’s flat in Barnes along the Thames footpath to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew instead.

As devoted anglophile, I hoped to find the sort of quintessential Englishness …

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Hamilton tickets have become one of the most coveted cultural commodities of our day, but a timed pass to the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) comes in a close second. This is in part because the museum, which opened on September 24, 2016, has fallen victim to its own success.

The average “dwell time” for most museums, which describes the length of an average visit, ranges from 75 minutes …

Venice 101: Hit the Highlights in One Day

I was lucky enough to take my first trip to Venice at 14 but that early exposure to world travel came with an early exposure to budget travel accommodations as well. We stayed on a campground on the mainland and had to leave the lagoon before sunset to make sure we didn’t miss the last transfer of the night.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, forced to tour the romantic northern Italian city …

A city alive with history

The stunning skyline of Quebec.

Quebec is one of the safest cities on the world, especially for women, my new friend tells me.

That’s lucky, I think, because I’ve just jumped into his car and we’re driving up into deserted forests. If I disappear, nobody will ever know why.

All such thoughts vanish as my impromptu tour guide Philippe Guerriere starts telling me about the battles that raged in Quebec between French and English soldiers, …

Jamaica Day Trip to Falmouth

What to Expect
The Port of Falmouth is one of the newer ones in the Caribbean. It was opened in 2011 to house the new mega ships and give another itinerary choice in Jamaica. Since it is between Montego Bay (18 miles away) and Ocho Rios (59 miles away), it was also created to bring attention to those on vacation in Jamaica to visit this historical town.

The port area of Falmouth is filled with modern …

There’s More to Las Vegas than Casinos…


Ca’seen them.

Yes, the megalith casinos keep getting bigger and bigger and they will likely always be the top draw for Vegas visitors. But when you are suffering from casino fatigue, and can’t take even one minute more of the atmosphere of smoke, sweat and desperation, take a look inside any of three museums that cry out “Vegas” but have nothing – okay, let’s say little – to do with casinos.


The Mob

The Fabled Colonial Key West

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…

A Pilgrimage to Bob Dylan’s Minnesota

Hull-Rust open mine pit where young Bob used to ride his bike with his friends.
© Michael Schuman

How does it feel?

A little breezy, actually. Standing on a modest hilltop overlooking the Hull-Rust open pit iron mine, where Bob Dylan, then Bob Zimmerman, used to ride his bicycle with his friends, it is easy to see how his youth in Hibbing, Minnesota influenced Dylan’s work. This endless iron mine pit is the largest in …

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water

A shaded forest with dappled sunlight dancing between the trees; a clear stream that cascades over a severe, silver rock face; a certain hush, save the occasional bird and the crunching of leaves underfoot, and there, in the middle of it, a house like a no other, rising from a waterfall.

Exterior view of Fallingwater from

There’s a reason why Frank Lloyd Wright remains one of America’s most beloved architects. Falling Water, the stunning …

20 Years After Terror Attack, Oklahoma City Museum Undergoes Expansion

A lot has happened since the pictures of devastation from the usually quiet municipality of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA made headlines 20 years ago. Heart-wrenching images of a bombed office building and broken bodies, the kind we are used to seeing from the Middle East and not the American Midwest, were on television screens and in newspapers in parts of the world that never knew Oklahoma City existed. The date was April 19, 1995. The time …

The Magical Mystery Tour

“Liverpool is the place that changed the face of music forever”, said our Magical Mystery Tours guide, Jay, who promised to take us on a nostalgic journey to where The Beatles found fame.

I’m a little sniffy when it comes to cheesy guided tours, thus with some apprehension I boarded the tour bus at the Albert Dock. Immediately a drum beat signified the start of the 2-hour tour and the ‘Magical mystery tour’ boomed through …

Happy 100th Birthday to San Diego’s Famed Balboa Park

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 …

24 Hours in Budapest

Buda Castle in Budapest, Hungary. Photo by Marcia Frost.

Budapest is one of the largest and most well-known cities on the Danube River in Hungary. It’s a town of many faces as it’s actually divided between “Buda” and “Pest.” You could easily fill a week in this city, but if you’re short on time, make sure you hit the highlights. You’ll quickly find out how this city played a big part in World War II …

Bolshy Barcelona

A view over Barcelona harbor

Thirteen minutes. That’s all it took from arriving in Barcelona to encounter one of its greatest claims to fame – the slickest pickpockets in Europe.

If you’re going to hit, best get hit by a professional, I always say. And they’re at their slickest and quickest on the underground trains at Barcelona Sants railway station. Barcelona treats its notoriety as a pickpocketer’s playground with a zesty inverted snobbery, with the …