10 Essentials for Summer Travel

No doubt about it – we are traveling in a post-pandemic world differently than we did before. Some of the changes are small. We’ve needed to replace items, update a few things, and plan for multiple contingencies because things just aren’t going according to plan. The first trip of this year, I did such a poor job of packing, that I had stop by a Target store to buy all sorts of things I missed. It’s gotten better. We’ve made the conscious choice (and budget decision) to fly business class on long-haul international flights. While it’s certainly more comfortable, and I love a comfortable pod and lie-flat seat, there are other practical reasons for the decision. If something is going to go wrong, business class passengers have a priority for checked bags, rebooking in the event of a cancellation or […]

Read More

101 Movies Set in Italy You’ll Love (or Hate)

Even if you can’t travel to Italy right now, you can get your Italian culture fix with these 101 movies set in Italy. This list represents films set in Italy, not necessarily filmed in Italy – we all know that set designers can make a studio backlot look like the meandering streets of Venice or a Tuscany hill town. While most of these movies are in English, no Italy movie list can ignore the many fine sub-titled Italian movies, so I’ve included some of those. I’ve tried to include the memorable, historical, and romantic movies set in Italy, while acknowledging there are a few that are, perhaps, better forgotten. And if you’re planning a first trip to Italy, this is a great list of movies to watch before you go. Any list is subjective. If your favorite movie set in […]

Read More

Alaska Inside Passage Cruise: Onboard Hollard America’s Koningsdam

Alaska is one of the most diverse landscapes in the United States. It has expansive mountain ranges, broad diversity of wildlife and marine life, a long-standing cultural heritage, and some of the best seafood around. It is also one of the most remote and elusive states. For many travelers wanting to visit all 50 states, Alaska is the last one to get checked off. Accessing Alaska is not easy, it’s not drivable much of the year from the contiguous US, and some areas have limited access by air. All of this goes into making Alaska a fascinating destination to visit and why an Alaska inside passage cruise is a popular way to see the last frontier. We embarked on a 7-day Inside Passage Alaska cruise with Holland America cruise line on their Koningsdam ship. While I’ve visited Alaska hundreds of […]

Read More

Celebrate World Whiskey Day

Take some grain, corn, rye or wheat will do, perhaps malted barley. Ferment in a still. Age in a wooden cask, oak works well, for various years. Then put into bottles. Voila – you have whisky. Or whiskey, if you prefer. As a general rule, it is spelled “whiskey”—with an e—in the United States and Ireland, and “whisky”—without an e—in Scotland, Japan, and Canada. An easy way to remember it is if the country has an “e” in it, so does whisk(e)y. A simple basic process is at the root of all whiskey making, from the rotgut in the backyard still to the smoothest Irish whiskey. However, the process of refining the smooth taste has evolved over generations and has often been passed from one master blender to another. Whiskey has become strictly regulated, with very specifically defined classes and types based […]

Read More

Visiting Museums Around the World: 34 Worth a Visit

Whether I’m traveling or staying close to home, one of my favorite things to do is visit museums. I enjoy museums of all kinds – art, history, archaeology, the quirky and weird – and when visiting a new destination, visiting their museums a quick overview of the country, its culture, and its people. How do you find the right museum to visit, keeping in mind that it is often just a matter of personal taste? The Official Visitors Guide and travel guidebook are great starting points, especially when you’re looking for the major museums in a destination. And while I want to visit those famous museums around the world, once I’ve visited them, I start looking for something different. Sometimes, if you’re the kind of traveler that likes to wander around, explore the sidestreets and the paths less traveled, you […]

Read More

How to Make Limonana, Tasty Mint Lemonade

Jordan has a very hot and dry climate, so a cool and refreshing drink is just what you need after a long day of exploring. One of the most refreshing drinks I found while I was visiting Jordan was mint lemonade, or Limonana, a traditional drink found throughout the Middle East. The name originates from the word “limon” which means lemon in Arabic and Hebrew and “nana” which means mint. Apparently, the drink became more well-known in the 90s after an advertising campaign promoted it in Israel, but it has been a popular sip across the Middle East for far longer. You can find it everywhere in Jordan – in restaurants, bottled in convenience stores, served fresh at juice stands, everywhere. I visited Jordan as part of a paid partnership project with Globus Journeys. Saying yes to the Jordan Escape tour was easy-peasy. […]

Read More

20 Fascinating Museums in St. Augustine

St. Augustine is the oldest city in the United States. and you can bet there are plenty of museums that highlight its fascinating and sometimes sketchy past. The historic downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places and is where you’ll find most of the restaurants, attractions, and shopping. It combines European flair with a spectacular bayfront to create a walkable downtown that makes history a priority. The city boasts a number of impressive museums, including some fascinating niche collections. For a recent visit, I dug into some research on the museums in St. Augustine, was able to visit a few of them, and have the rest queued up for a return visit. If you’re visiting Florida and you’re keen to learn more about the country’s history, you’ll want to plan a visit to St. Augustine. And while you’re […]

Read More

History Travel: Discover These Favorite UNESCO World Heritage Sites

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) was founded in 1945 with the goal of promoting world peace and security through international cooperation in education, arts, sciences, and culture. Its headquarters are located in Paris, France, with dozens of regional offices around the world. UNESCO supports many projects and has lots of meetings and conferences, but the initiative likely the most familiar to travelers is the designation of World Heritage Sites. The World Heritage program designates sites that reflect the importance of preserving the cultural and natural heritage of the world. As of July 2021, there are 1,154 UNESCO World Heritage Sites (897 cultural, 218 natural, and 39 mixed properties), spanning 167 countries. With 58, Italy has the most on the list. Every year, new sites are considered for listing. The process starts with countries creating a Tentative List […]

Read More

Visit Sunnylands, Rancho Mirage, California

The greater Palm Springs area has been a popular vacation spot for Hollywood movie stars and California’s elite society for decades, and it’s no surprise why. Its natural hot springs, 5-star resorts, 90+ golf courses in the surrounding area, and year-round sunny weather. This perfect vacation spot has evolved from a playground for the rich and famous into a year-round destination for everyone. But let’s take a little time to explore that old-world Palm Spring era with a stop at Sunnylands in Palm Springs. History of Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage Sunnylands is the former estate of Walter and Leonore Annenberg and was built as their winter retreat in Rancho Mirage, California.  Walter and Leonore built a vacation home in the Palm Springs area, like many others, but they wanted their home to be more than just floors and walls. They […]

Read More

Jordan Travel Tips: 9 Things I Didn’t Know Until I Got There

Before every vacation, I love researching places and learning about all the destinations, their history, and the attractions. I try to find a book or two about or set in the destination (I start this process as soon as the trip is booked so that I have lots of time before I arrive on-site). I start reading guides and blog posts from my cadre of trusted sites. I set up a Pinterest board to keep track of the things I deem important, the photos that capture my attention, and I compile information that would make a data nerd proud. Without proper preparation and some research, you could find yourself in difficult situations or end up missing some hidden gems. So it’s smart to do it. But no matter how much research I do, I love the serendipity that happens while […]

Read More