Category Archive: Destinations

Visiting the Ruins of Pompeii: From Tragedy to Tourism

  The ruins of Pompeii have become one of Italy’s most visited sites. On August 24th, 79 A.D., erupted in a violent two-day display that destroyed the city of Pompeii, Italy, and the surrounding area. It is one of history’s largest recorded volcanic eruptions, and a tragedy by any measure. The city was buried under ash and pumice for nearly 1700 years and was presumed lost until its accidental rediscovery in the mid-1700s.   The subsequent excavation of the ruins of Pompeii provided a peek at what life was like during the height of the Roman Empire. Rising out of the ash and lava over a thousand years later, the ruins of Pompeii turned a horrible tragedy into a tourism opportunity. Millions of visitors a year now visit this UNESCO World Heritage site located not far from Naples, along with its […]

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A Most Wonderful Time of the Year at Universal Orlando Resort

Holiday magic is a real thing. A feeling deep in your soul. A feeling that brightens your smile, lights up your eyes and has you humming along with the Christmas music. At Universal Orlando Resort, there’s a little extra special magic thrown in, thanks to the powers of Harry Potter and his friends along with the imagination of thousands of creative minds. As an ambassador for Universal Orlando Resort (that’s a photo of all of us above in our ugly Christmas sweaters), I was invited to a media preview for their holiday events and, boy, was I impressed. I think you will be as well – and while it’s not too late to make your plans, you’d better get hopping. Holiday festivities run through January 6th, 2018. Here are my five favorite magical holiday experiences at Universal Orlando Resort. Everybody […]

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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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Weekend Guide: Getaway to Langley, Washington

This weekend guide to your getaway to Langley, Washington, will help you plan your getaway, complete with where to stay, what to eat and drink, and what to do. Located on the south end of Whidbey Island overlooking the Saratoga Passage, Langley’s community of just over 1,000 people entice visitors with small town hospitality. With charming inns and cottages, seven wineries in the area, and a stunning natural environment, Langley is a perfect getaway destination for wine tasting, great food, and outdoor activity. This weekend guide to a getaway to Langley was written with the assistance and sponsorship of Whidbey Camano Tourism (their website is here) and its members. This guide contains affiliate links; clicking through for more information or to make a purchase may result in a small fee coming my way to help support the site. Getting There […]

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UNESCO World Heritage Site: Historic District of Panama

Panama City has two sides – the modern, with its skyscraper banks and casinos, and the old town, the historic district, referred to as Historic District of Panama, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Founded in 1519, Panama City is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement on the Pacific coast of the Americas. The city was hit many hard times – slave rebellion, fire, and an earthquake, before being destroyed in a pirate attack in 1671. The original site was laid out in a slightly irregular, somewhat rudimentary grid of colonial planning. The city was moved in 1673, about four and a half miles southeast and is known as Casco Antiguo or the old town. A sea wall was erected for protection from its enemies, the city had a central plaza with smaller plazas on the fringe. The streets were organized, […]

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Cruising: Pure Panama with UnCruise Adventure

This morning we head off to Panama City, via Miami and Hurricane Irma, for some city time followed by a week on the 65-passenger Safari Voyager cruising Panama. This expedition vessel will take us through the canal as well as to many of the smaller islands in the country. This trip is the first time that I’ve left the country this year, a rather unusual occurrence for me, but a lot of family things have been going on and it just hasn’t been the right time for me to take a trip farther than across the country for a few days. With house and pet sitter in place, we’re off. And what a trip it’s going to be! The first challenge will be to avoid Hurricane Irma. She’s rumbling it up in the Caribbean right now, and as I write […]

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Five Fun Facts for Friday: Mall of America, Minnesota

The Mall of America is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017. About one billion people from around the world have visited the largest shopping and retail entertainment center in Bloomington, Minnesota since it opened. MOA features 520 stores featuring leading designer brands and no sales tax on clothing or shoes, the largest U.S. indoor theme park and many other leading family attractions, 50 restaurants, over 400 free annual events, two luxury on-site hotels and much more. MOA features 520 stores featuring leading designer brands and no sales tax on clothing or shoes, the largest U.S. indoor theme park and many other leading family attractions, 50 restaurants, over 400 free annual events, two luxury on-site hotels, miniature golf, indoor zip line, and much, much more. It’s no wonder MOA is a top tourist and vacation destination. With all of the amazing […]

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Splish Splash: A Review of Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort

Last month I attended the media preview as well as the Grand Opening of Universal Orlando Resort’s new water theme park – Volcano Bay. I was predisposed to love it, of course, as I’m a fan of most things UOR (that’s probably why they hired me to be part of the inaugural Blog Squad ambassador program). But, I was not expecting to find so many things to love about this third theme park in the UOR brand. This review is a result of my visit to the park on the media day (with only a few hundred people in attendance) as well as the more crowded opening day. TL/DR:  Just go, it’s amazing! For those who want to know more, here are the details. The story of Volcano Bay starts with the culture of the Waturi, a fictional tribe from […]

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5 Fun Facts for Friday: Irvine, California

Irvine, California, is located in the center of Orange County, just 45 miles south of Los Angeles and 90 miles north of San Diego. The center of the city is only seven miles from the . While its main activities were once missions, cattle grazing, and agriculture, today it’s the 8th largest city in the U.S. and is one of the nation’s largest planned urban communities. In 2017, Irvine has been named the 10th  “Best City to Live in America.” (Niche) and #3 on the list of  “10 Happiest Cities in the United States” (WalletHub). Yet, many travelers have still not heard of it directly, instead confusing it with neighboring Anaheim or lumping it together under the label of Orange County. John Wayne Airport (SNA) is located less than five minutes from the majority of Irvine’s hotels and is served by both […]

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5 Fun Facts for Friday: Anchorage, Alaska

My high school English teacher used to start class on Friday with 5 words or phrases written on the board.  He’d then regale us with information and history about the words or phrases, varying from tidbits about their etymology to the translation of foreign phrases to quotes and more.  He called it Five Fun Facts for Friday.  If we walked into class and there weren’t 5 words on the board, we’d start asking about that day’s five fun facts. Years later, and I do mean many years, I still remember this teacher and the way he made learning fun.  I’ve also noticed when I come across little tidbits of information that I often think of them in terms of five fun facts, so today I’m going to share some fun facts with you. While I’m not promising that I’ll have […]

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