Category: Travel
Bejing and Beyond: Olympic Games inspire adventure

Hundreds of Chinese in clear slickers speed in unison on their bicycles into a sharp slanting rain along the streets of Beijing. It is the morning rush hour, and I am getting my first glimpse of the Chinese culture. Across the street in the shadow of the Forbidden City is Tiananmen Square. Here I see 40 or so elderly Chinese welcoming the day with the ritual movements of an ancient dance. As I enter the nearby fashionable department store, seven (not ...

Read more »
Category: Travel
Carnevale In Venice

The wood slates of the window showed only a peek of the dawn flowing in from the Venetian morning. I heard the gondolas docking in the port below. Dark brewed coffee was on the way. A dove flew by and landed in an ancient bell tower and I could hear the flapping of its wings. I pushed open the shutters and saw three masked men with capes dressed in black and white costumes. They had masks with long noses and were carrying canes. They stopped and turned ...

Read more »
Category: Travel
The Teen Connection: A Chicago Journey

Traveling by train is on the rise again. Amtrak is scaling up its services adding luxury cars on select lines. With airports so congested and hectic, traveling by train is a great alternative for traveling with teenagers. The best time to plan is now for a summer journey to Chicago. The city’s array of sports, architecture, art, and outdoor music festivals can put a smile on any doubting teenager’s face. When my teenage son requested ...

Read more »
Category: Travel
The Splendor of New York: Holiday Happenings Abound

New York City is getting an enormous present this month. The legendary Plaza Hotel is reopening following a $400 million renovation. The celebrated opening of this beloved and grand hotel, now under white-gloved Fairmont management, is most certainly the buzz around town. Its magnificent Beaux Arts structure overlooking Fifth Avenue and Central Park is an icon of New York City. Generations of New Yorkers and visitors alike have gathered here for family ...

Read more »
Category: Travel
America’s Castles on the Cliffs: Newport’s Gilded Glories

Forty steps carved in granite lead down from the winding path of Newport’s Cliff Walk to the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Above, past wildflowers and thick brush is a pathway through a formal hedge that seems perfect for a child’s entrance to a secret garden. Beyond, rising high on a formal lawn is one of the towering “Gilded Age” mansions. The windows are empty now, but the whisper of festive frivolity can still be heard in the wind. ...

Read more »
Category: Travel
Nashville on the Move: Music and its Makings

Charles Neville, the embodiment of New Orleans’ soulful, funky sounds, and a regular headliner at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, moved up to Nashville, Tennessee, after hurricane Katrina. I was puzzled by this news, as I remembered Charles well from the 1970s when he would regularly jam with his brothers at my apartment on St. Charles Avenue. We would hit spoons and pots as we danced to his “Hey Pocky Way.” The Nevilles were the ...

Read more »
Category: Travel
The Other Side of Paris: Fabulous flea markets awaiting discovery

Paris is a city of discovery. Its graceful bridges curve over the sensuous Seine River connecting its vibrant streets to an array of intriguing neighborhoods. Visitors explore this romantic city’s great art, architecture, and historic sites, while savvy dealers from around the globe flock to Paris to search its flea markets for rare and collectible antiques. The flea markets of Paris are a virtual treasure trove for antique dealers. Here is ...

Read more »
Category: Travel
Presidential History at the Heart of the Yellow Brick Road: Illinois offers sites from walking history to a historic courthouse

There is still a sense of optimism running through the town where Abraham Lincoln spent much of his career as a young Illinois attorney. His friend Jesse Fell recalled encouraging Lincoln to run for president when they met across from the courthouse in Bloomington’s Phoenix Block, aptly named for how quickly it sprang back to life after a devastating fire swept through the town. The courthouse is now the McLean County Museum of History and the ...

Read more »
Category: Travel
The Highs of Highlands: The heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains

After dawn broke, there was a mesmerizing violet haze that floated over the Blue Ridge Mountains from the southern crest of the Appalachians. My first glimpse of this violet vision confirmed the dreamy beauty of the North Carolina I had heard so much about. One feels different when riding up these astoundingly beautiful, scenic mountains, weaving in and out of several state lines that cross over the Eastern Continental Divide. With the misty morning ...

Read more »
Category: Travel
Flying High in the Sky: Where the sun shines through the mist

The Temecula Valley in southern California is known for it exceptional vineyards, lush countryside, and a morning mist that sparkles in the early sun. The days are brilliant and golden and at night, cold air blows in across the valley from the Pacific Ocean. This is an ideal environment for growing some of the finest grapes harvested on the west coast. The perfect temperatures and picturesque countryside also makes Temecula Valley a wonderful place ...

Read more »