Category Archive: Destinations

Getaway Guide: Exploring Elba, the Island of Napoleon’s Exile 

Elba is the largest island of the Tuscan archipelago and the third-largest in Italy (behind Sardinia and Sicily). With its beautiful beaches and clear blue water, it is a popular getaway for beach lovers, especially during the summer months, but Isola d’elba offers much more. From hiking, swimming, and watersports, to history and museums to great food and drink, you can find a great mix of experiences whether you’re looking to explore Elba, relax, or do both. Here’s what you need to know to plan a getaway to Elba. The History of Elba Island Understanding the island’s history is the first step in discovering Elba. Elba was first inhabited by Ligures Ilvates, a tribe that lived on the land that is modern-day Italy. Since the early tribes, Elba has been occupied by the Romans, Germans, Italians, Spain, British, and French. That’s […]

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Literary Dublin: Discover These Sites That Celebrate Dublin Writers

Dublin has been home to some of the most influential writers in history, many of whom have helped shape the literary world as we know it today.  Iconic novelists such as James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, and Bram Stoker once called this Irish capital home. Literary Dublin was also home to Samuel Beckett, known for his theatrical work, and poet William Butler Yates, one of the most prominent figures in 20th-century literature.  Dublin is, unsurprisingly, full of literary attractions, from world-renowned museums to former literary hangouts tucked away in the backstreets. Green with Envy On my recent trip to Dublin, part of a paid partnership with Globus Journeys, I had the opportunity to learn and experience literary Dublin as part of their Choice Touring program. Choice Touring has been designed to provide a general group framework, and within that, options […]

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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 […]

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Paris Pantheon: Finding Where the Bodies Are Buried

Paris is known for its charming architectural attractions, rich history, bold romantic overtones, exquisite food, and more. On my first visit to France, I visited the Paris Pantheon, a neoclassical church in the Latin Quarter of Paris, and it quickly became one of my favorite places in the city. The Pantheon in Paris was modeled after the Pantheon in Rome and has a domed top similar to the one on Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London. Although the Pantheon was originally an abbey, it now primarily serves as a burial place for famous French heroes, leaders, artists, and writers. The imposing structure is made of stone and marble and supported by 22 Corinthian-inspired pillars. The building’s entrance is headlined by the inscription “AUX GRANDS HOMMES LA PATRIE RECONNAISSANTE” (To great men, the grateful homeland). The interior of the building is decorated with […]

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Learn All About Washington State AVAs (Wine Regions)

Washington State wine is sold in all 50 US states as well as in over 40 countries around the world. Chances are, you’ve seen a Washington wine on a wine list pretty much anywhere you’ve traveled. Learn all about the Washington wine industry and the Washington State AVAs (wine regions) that produce these delicious and award-winning wines. Washington is the second-largest wine region in the United States, trailing California. (Oregon comes in third.) The climate creates a near-perfect environment for the acres of vines growing grapes for both red wine and white wine. Washington wines are solid performers at wine competitions, flashing their signature crisp acidity and fruit-forward flavors that win accolades in reputable wine competitions. Additionally, Washington is home to forward-thinking, sustainability-conscious vineyards and wineries. So let’s dig in and learn more about the Washington State AVAs . What are […]

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UNESCO World Heritage Site: Historic District of Panama

Pristine waters, abundant wildlife, and sublime coastline. The beauty of Panama is matchless. Here you can experience a Pacific sunrise and an Atlantic sunset from the same spot. And while Panama City might be renowned globally for its star attraction, the canal, there is far more to see, do, and experience. Panama City has two sides – the modern, with its skyscraper banks and casinos, and the old town. The old town is referred to as the Historic District of Panama and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s become one of the hippest neighborhoods in the city, also called Casco Viejo (Spanish for the old quarter), and feels like a lifetime away from the skyscraper banks and casinos.  The historic district spans only four avenues and is a UNESCO Site, officially titled Archaeological Site of Panama Viejo and Historic […]

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The History of the Irish Coffee & the Buena Vista Cafe

Your San Francisco itinerary should include some of the city’s classic culinary dishes, drinks, and snacks. Not sure where to start? For starters, wind down a windy San Francisco day near Fisherman’s Wharf at the Buena Vista Cafe, located at the terminus of the Powell-Hyde Street cable car line. This corner spot’s allure is not just good food and fast service, but also the friendly crowd. On an average day, the old school charm of Buena Vista draws in the thirsty and hungry visitors who fill it to the brim. It can be loud and noisy, this isn’t the spot for quiet conversation. Don’t get put off if a stranger takes an empty seat at your table – patrons grab a seat where they can find it, and that might be next to you. The Buena Vista lays claim to […]

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What to See & Do in Every Region of Thailand

From ancient culture and mystic temples to lush landscapes and sugary sand beaches, a visit to Thailand offers such variety that it’s a popular vacation spot for many. The neighboring countries of Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos, and Cambodia have all had some influence on Thailand and its people, but the Land of Smiles remains largely unspoiled by European colonialism and has preserved its own distinct culture. The country is larger than most people realize and you likely won’t see it all in one visit – unless that visit is a very long one. To plan your visit, think of Thailand as one country with five different regions, each region offering something a little different, a little special.  So, let’s discover Thailand! Information for this previously published post was updated in December 2020 and contains affiliate links. Explore Northern Thailand The North […]

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15 Delicious Japanese Foods You Need to Try

From Hokkaido to Okinawa, Japan is home to some of the most flavorful dishes in the world. While each region may put their own spin on them, you’ll find certain classic meals on menus across the country. With an emphasis on using a wide variety of fresh ingredients, there are tasty options for every palate. Ready to embark on a culinary journey when visiting Tokyo? Here’s a list of the most delicious Japanese foods you need to try.  1. Sushi — One of the best-known Japanese foods, sushi consists of rice seasoned with rice vinegar combined with a variety of ingredients including raw fish, vegetables, and nori (seaweed). Sushi is commonly served with soy sauce, wasabi, pickled ginger, and other sides.  The ultimate finger food, it’s not surprising that sushi has become a popular choice for parties. In fact, sushi […]

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Wine With MJ: Virtual Wine Tasting, Valdo Prosecco

We’re back with our virtual wine tasting this week we feature Penny Sadler, travel and wine writer, WSET student, and wine tasting host. Our wine selection was Prosecco – my favorite of the sparkling (spumante) options, and we tasted Valdo Marca Oro Prosecco DOC Brut.  Joining us at about the 30 minutes mark was Matteo Bolla, the third generation of the founding family of the Voldo vineyard, named for the town of Valdobbiadene. You might recognize the Bolla name – the family also founded this winery, although sold it and are no longer involved with the label. Penny started us off with some good background information about Prosecco, where it comes from, the different designations, and some ideas on visiting the area. She’s written a helpful article about it (here), so you can use it as a resource as you […]

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