Third Annual Travel Reading Challenge

The four things I love most in life are my family (including a rather chubby Siamese cat), travel, food and wine, and reading. Life is the best when I can combine any of those things. Sitting in a cafe in Italy, drinking a glass of Barolo, and reading a book? YES! Reading in a bubble bath with a glass of wine? Bliss! Lounging on the couch with my cat on my lap and reading? Absolutely. Curled up in business class with the latest best-seller? Anytime! See what I mean? Those things all seem to work well together and I’m happy to indulge. I also love picking up a book set in a destination that’s on my travel schedule. I’m generally a Kindle reader, with the exception of some gorgeous coffee table books I’ve picked up. While reading with Kindle has […]

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2019: A Year of Travel in Review at Traveling with MJ

What a year!  2019 kept us busy with travel to new destinations as well as building some internal organization within our new media corporation (Leeward Media, LLC). There’s rarely a dull moment around here, and that’s just the way we like it. This is our annual update post, our chance to wrap up the year and let readers know more about our business, our travels, and our future plans. It’s like those annual Christmas newsletters, we just hope it’s not that annoying. We now own and manage the following travel and lifestyle sites: Traveling with MJ – This is my personal blog focusing on value luxury destinations, experiences, and products. Everyone has a different opinion on what constitutes luxury. For some people, that’s flying business class. For others, it’s enjoying a fabulous glass of wine. And for still others, it’s […]

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5 Tuscan Towns for a Perfect Day Trip

It’s been awhile since we’ve traveled to Italy and it’s time to start making plans for a return visit. Our travel preference is to travel with friends and rent a home in Italy to use as a home base. Having a home base lets us set up a combination of days at leisure to relax and soak up the Italian way of life along with busy days of day trips seeing the countryside. There are many things that we love about Italy, especially the hill towns in Tuscany. Here are a few of our favorites, perfect as a home base, day trip, or weekend getaway. Castiglione d’Orcia Where it is: In the Siena province in Tuscany. Population around 3,000. What to do: Visit the Castle of Tentennano and the Santi Stefano and Degna to see art. Relax in the baths. […]

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MJ Recommends: 2019 Holiday Gift Guide for Travelers

I’m a big fan of the “you don’t need more stuff” philosophy. I have everything I need, and a good portion of the things I want. I no longer feel that “things” define who I am, my values, or worth. Over the last year or so, we’ve been trying to take more things out of the house than bring into it, and while we haven’t always been successful, we’ve definitely cut down our conspicuous over-consumption. So why, you might be asking yourself, is a Holiday Gift Guide appearing on Traveling with MJ? Fair question. This holiday gift guide represents goods and services that I either use regularly or are on my personal shopping list – it’s an assortment of needs, wants, and splurges. These are things that make my business, travel, and home life simpler, easier, better. Any item on […]

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Spend an Afternoon at Miners Landing, Seattle

Located on Seattle’s historic Pier 57 overlooking Elliott Bay, Miners Landing is so named for its role in the Klondike Gold Rush; it was the site where the first gold was brought back to the city, inspiring more citizens to head out in search of riches. Today, Miners Landing is a popular tourist destination with lots of attractions, arcade games, restaurants, and rides to enjoy.  To help you plan how to spend your time here, here is our guide to what you can see and what you can do at Miners Landing. Things to Do at Miners Landing You don’t have to be a kid to have all the fun, there are attractions on Miners Landing suitable for all ages. Seattle Great Wheel Seattle’s answer to the London Eye, the Seattle Great Wheel is one of the most popular attractions […]

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100 Free (and Almost Free) Things to Do in Washington, DC

With all the attention on Washington D.C. during the presidential election cycle, it’s easy to think that the city is all about bickering between the various branches of government. In one of the United States’ most visited cities, there are plenty of attractions and things to do that are budget friendly – free or almost free – whether you politically lean left of right. This list should provide you enough ideas no matter what time of year you’re visiting. If you’re looking for something family friendly: Marvel at the National Zoo’s conservation efforts firsthand along the Asia Trail. Pay a visit to giant pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, as well as their offspring, Bao Bao and Bei Bei (the youngest cub). Be sure to take a peek at their tiny neighbors, the red pandas, too. Stare up at the […]

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Try Glamping Hub for Offbeat Luxury Accommodations

When you think about camping, your mind probably conjures up images of roughing it in the wild, having no running water or electricity, putting up with all kinds of beastly creatures, and living with just the basic essentials. Yeah, that doesn’t sound like a good time to me! It does not have to be that way, though. That’s why glamping has taken off in popularity in recent years and has massively changed the camping industry; now it is possible to have the full camping experience while still living in a high level of luxury. And I should point out that glamping turns camping into more than huddling in a tent – it’s now about offbeat accommodations with a full range of amenities. Continue reading for our experience using Glamping Hub for a stay on the Long Beach Peninsula. What Is […]

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UNESCO Site: Visiting Malbork Castle, Poland

A visit to Malbork Castle Museum will feature both the historical and artistic aspects. There are also some archaeological activities and research, always looking for ways to add depth to the layers of history of the Teutonic Order and the Castle. The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem, usually referred to as the Teutonic Order, is a Catholic religious order dating back to the 12th century. Although it was originally founded as a German military brotherhood, it’s purpose has changed over the years and since 1929 it has been strictly a religious order, although it harkens back to those early years with the conference of honorary knighthoods. Today the Catholic branch of the Order has about 1,000 members, and while originally no women were permitted, members today include a couple of hundred nuns. The Castle of […]

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Weekend Getaway: River Spirit/Margaritaville Casino Resort, Tulsa

Plan a weekend getaway trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for a perfect combination of relaxation and fun activities. It might not be top of mind when planning a getaway, but it offers the same amenities you expect at a resort for a fraction of the price. For your getaway weekend, I recommend River Spirit/Margaritaville Casino Resort as a great choice for a couples getaway, a girls spa weekend, or even a bachelor/bachelorette weekend. Located on the banks of the Arkansas River, the Oklahoma resort has two casinos set within the complex along with diverse restaurants and bars, stylishly themed rooms, a spa, and a whole host of entertainment options. Here is what you can expect on your getaway weekend to River Spirit/Margaritaville Casino Resort: Rooms There are two types of rooms available at River Spirit/Margaritaville Casino Resort, along with two types […]

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Enjoy Barge Cruising in Burgundy with European Waterways

    We are big cruise fans. We enjoy ocean cruising, river cruising, and earlier this summer we fell in love with barge cruising. We cruised the Burgundy canals, drank fabulous wines, met wonderful people, and enjoyed the history, culture, and cuisine of the area. Burgundy (Bourgogne in French) is located about three and a half hours southeast of Paris and is probably best known for its pinot noir and chardonnay grapes. This was a wine region we wanted to learn more about and the reason we selected the Classic Northern Burgundy itinerary. We were also familiar with the food from this region of France (delicious cheeses, beef bourguignon, coq au vin) and some of the history. This was a perfect itinerary for first-time barge cruisers who are food, wine, and history lovers! We’re excited to review our hotel barge, […]

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