Do You Take Your Vacation Time?

I was reading the other day that more and more people are foregoing their annual vacation.  Some are choosing to work through vacation, opting to get paid out for their vacation days.  Other people are continuing to work, just letting vacation accrue in their leave accounts, some at the risk of “using or losing” days.  Some people don’t want to lose time away from the “fast track” by taking vacation, believing they are showing loyalty to their job and company by staying at their desks.  Still others take time away from work, but work on projects at home rather than taking any actual vacation. To take, or not take, your vacation time has become the subject of numerous studies, leading to a variety of articles and books written on the topic. And guess what?  It turns out that taking a […]

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The Paris Series: Preparation

Last month I took a much delayed, but VERY anticipated, trip to Paris.  The City of Lights has long called to me, and I was determined to finally make it happen. I decided to share with you my preparation for the trip, and some of the memorable experiences I had while there, over the next few months.  The process is one that can be replicated for most destinations. Preparation is a key part of travel, but despite my best efforts to plan as far in advance as possible, some last minute scheduling issues intervened, and I was left with only about a week to pull everything together.  This was my first trip to Paris, and despite a flurry of last minute changes, I found that it is a trip that can be done at the last minute.  Preparation helps, but if […]

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The Beat Goes On

Fans of Kerouac, Burroughs, and Ginsberg, probably already know about The Beat Museum, and it’s certainly no surprise that the home of The Beats is now the home of The Beat Museum. Having moved to San Francisco’s North Beach area from a prior location on the coast, The Beat Museum continues to celebrate the beatnik generation of art, music, and way of life.  The lure of The Beat is probably as strong as it’s ever been.  It’s been 50 years since Jack Kerouac published On the Road, and it is arguably more popular today than it was when originally published. The Beat Museum is located at 540 Broadway (at Columbus) in San Francisco’s North Beat area (map it). It is open Tuesday – Sunday, 10 am – 10 pm.  Closed on Monday.  Depending on your interest in the topic, and your […]

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Fall Money Saving Travel Tips

As we head into the fall travel season, here are a few money saving travel tips to keep in mind: October and early November are generally considered “shoulder” seasons in the travel industry.  If you can travel now, you may be able to find some great bargains — especially in you have flexibility in your travel dates or location. This time of year is also a busy one for conventions and conferences.  Generally speaking, there will be one or two conference hotels, and organizers will strongly encourage you to make your reservations using a group booking method.  This usually results in a very good rate, but always check.  I have found special web fares and other discounts available that can occasionally beat the conference price.  NOTE:  It is impossible to use a group booking, if the price is right, when attending a […]

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Odd Travel Memories from Childhood

Growing up, I lived a couple hours north of Seattle.  While that doesn’t seem very far of a drive by today’s standards, back then, the trip involved a great deal of logistical planning, and was one my family took only a few times a year. A couple of favorite places that we would go included the Woodland Park Zoo, the Museum of History and Industry, and to the Waterfront, with dinner at Ivar’s Acres of Clams.  We usually managed, after pleas from us kids, to find time to visit Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. The shop was compelling in an odd, freak-show kind of way.  Perfect for kids in that pre-teen age bracket.  It had been there forever, we thought, and its wear and tear made it comfortable and appealing.  The store has actually been there for over 107 years, so as […]

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Stringing You Along with The World's Largest Ball of It

I wasn’t sure if it was true, or an urban legend, but there really is a large ball of string, claiming to be the World’s largest.  I don’t know if it really is the largest in the world, but this hulking ball of string is located in Weston, Missouri (500 Welt Street) at America Bowman Restaurant. The site was the location of the former West Museum, located in a barn on the property.  One of the artifacts proudly on display in the museum, was a huge ball of string, measuring 19 feet in circumference and weighing in at a cool 3, 713 pounds.  This is pure string, which means that no materials of a thicker composition (like yarn or twine) are in the ball.  No one has been able to answer the questions as to the origination of the ball, or the owner […]

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The Puka Dog: Hot Dogs Hawaiian-Style

Every geographical area seems to do its own special version of a hot dog, and for a tasty dog Hawaiian-style, Puka Dog is the place to go. What is a Puka Dog?  It’s a special bun-sized loaf of bread with a hole at one end, pierced through the length of the bun, forming a hole throughout.  Secret-sauces, relishes, or just the usual mustard and catsup, are then poured into this hollowed out bun creating a soft nestling area for a Polish-type sausage.  Take a look a the photo to get an idea of what it looks like. To order a Puka Dog you specify sausage or veggie, followed by your choice of garlic lemon sauce (mild original, spicy jalapeno, hot chili pepper, or hot hot habanero), followed by your choice of relish (mango, pineapple, papaya, coconut, banana, starfruit, or catsup, […]

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See the Whites of Their Eyes at the Bunker Hill Monument

Most of the 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill, the first major British-Colonial battle of the Revolutionary War, didn’t take place on Bunker Hill at all — most of the fighting took place on Breed’s Hill.  But the geographical error continues to this day, and the 221 foot tall Bunker Hill Monument stands proudly on Breed’s Hill. Construction of the monument was an on again, off again process, building furiously when funds were available, then halted when funds were gone.  Eventually, battlefield grounds had to be sold off to help complete the monument, leaving only the summit where the monument stands.  The monument was dedicated in 1843, with remarks from noted orator, Daniel Webster. The Monument is an obelisk, that is, its tall, narrow, granite sides taper into a pyramid at the top.  In front, is a statue of William Prescott, memorable for […]

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10 Money Saving Travel Tips for Fall. . . or Any Time at All!

If you haven’t already done so, you need to book your holiday travel.  Many flights and hotels are already full for Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays.  There aren’t a whole lot of bargains to be found at this time, and if they are out there, you’ll need to be doing a lot of research and digging deep to find them. If, however, you’ve got a hankering to travel, fall many be a bargain filled time to do so.  It’s known as a soft travel time — after the summer is over, and the schools and universities are back in session, and before the rush of the holidays.  It’s a time when those of us who are in the travel business predict that we’ll FINALLY be able to get on a flight and enjoy our own travel plans. Here are a few […]

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Astoria Column Depicts Pacific Northwest History

The Astoria Column overlooks the mouth of the Columbia River from its vantage point on Coxcomb Hill, Oregon’s highest hill, in Astoria, Oregon.  The 125 foot high tower was built in 1926, at a cost of a little over twenty seven thousand dollars, with funding from Vincent Astor (great grandson of John Jacob Astor for whom the city was named) and the Great Northern Railroad. The monument has 14 pictorial scenes reflecting, in chronological order, the history of the Pacific Northwest Coast:  the arrival of the European settlers, the westward expansion, and the development of a continental nation.  The earliest scenes are at the base of the column and progress upward. The location on Coxcomb Hill is the site of the first permanent American Settlement west of the Rocky Mountains.  Although the site itself boasts spectacular views, even more spectacular are the views […]

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