Category Archive: Uncategorized

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Visiting Mount Nebo, Jordan 

Mount Nebo is a lesser-known, but still a very important historical landmark in Jordan. The mountain has a major biblical significance to the people of Jordan and Israel as the religious site is said to be the place where Moses looked towards The Promised Land before he died upon the mountain top. Mount Nebo is an important stop on a visit to Jordan and I was glad to see it on my itinerary. With views overlooking the Dead Sea, Jeremiah, and even Jerusalem, this important historical site is also an area of outstanding natural beauty. Though today the mountain peak is a tourist attraction with an admission fee, the religious connections are felt by most who visit here. It is a popular pilgrimage site for many religious devotees, and even though I don’t consider myself a religious person, I couldn’t […]

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A Tasting Guide to Sicilian Wines

Some of the finest wines in the world come from Italy. These Italian wines are often associated with refreshing tastes, are wonderfully complementary with food, and evoke warm Mediterranean memories. I can’t help but think back to past visits to Italy every time I’m sipping an Italian wine. We’re heading back to Italy soon, and I can’t wait to discover new favorites. The country is full of delicious wines – from large producers to smaller local wines – but one wine area that is too often overlooked is the wines of Sicily. Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and its warm climate and fertile soils make it a perfect place for native grapes and wine cultivation. According to Sicilian wine history, Sicily is also the first Italian region to study Oenology – the study of wine tasting. […]

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13 INCREDIBLE Places to Celebrate the Spring Equinox

The spring equinox is the time of year when the sun lies directly above the equator, meaning that the length of day and night are equal. It is also referred to by other names, such as Ostara equinox and the vernal equinox. The Spring Equinox falls on different days each year, although it is usually around the same time. In 2022, it lands on March 20th in the Northern Hemisphere and September 22nd in the Southern Hemisphere. It marks the beginning of spring in the Northern hemisphere and the beginning of fall in the Southern Hemisphere. The confusion between spring and fall with the hemispheres is why it’s sometimes easier to just refer to it as the vernal equinox (even though vernal means spring, it sometimes sounds less confusing). For thousands of years, ancient civilizations have held spring equinox celebrations. Spring […]

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A Nod of Approval for the National Bobblehead Museum & Hall of Fame

Bobbleheads are more than just toys, they have become collectibles, and are usually a type of figurine depicting a notable person or character. Sometimes they are created for publicity (as you often see for sports teams or sports figures), sometimes to honor an important person or celebrity (presidents or movie stars). The Milwaukee Bobblehead Museum and Hall of Fame holds the world’s largest collection of bobbleheads, and I couldn’t wait to visit on a recent trip to Milwaukee. The museum is also one of the quirkiest museums in the city, and that always holds appeal for me. Let’s start with the basics. What are Bobbleheads? Bobbleheads, nodders, or “yes men”, are a type of small action figure collectible item that is well known for, well, having a bobbly head. Usually, bobbleheads are designed so the head is much larger than […]

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Visiting Salton Sea: Your Guide to This Must-See California Attraction

The Salton Sea is one of the most environmentally significant places in California. It was once a booming tourist destination and attraction, but turned into an environmental disaster, leaving much of the surrounding towns and settlements abandoned and desolated. But that does not mean to suggest that it’s not worth visiting the Salton Sea. Today, the Salton Sea attracts visitors wanting to experience its volcanic mud hot springs, observe the unique wildlife, and also swing by the famous Slab City, a lawless town that features many art installations. For those undertaking a road trip through California, visiting the Salton Sea is definitely something to add to the itinerary. I had never heard of it, but while visiting Palm Springs, a friend suggested it as a day trip. I thought it was a great little escape into nature, and thought about […]

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Avis & Effie Hotchkiss: Women Harley Riders Who Rode Into the History Books

During a time of turmoil and unrest during the first World War, you would never have expected two adventurous women to take on a groundbreaking adventure. Riding motorcycles was stereotypically considered a man’s sport, especially during the early 1900s when vehicles had not long been on the road. But in 1915, just thirteen years after the first Harley Davidson motorcycle was manufactured in America, two women set out to do what society told them they couldn’t.  Known as the pioneers of female adventure motorcycling, Avis and Effie Hotchkiss took their motorcycle cross country to see the scenery. Little did they know that their journey would inspire other women Harley riders, not just in picking up the sport, but in fighting for political justice. Who are Avis and Effie Hotchkiss? 52-year-old Avis Hotchkiss, and her 26-year-old daughter Effie, were the first female […]

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2022 Travel Reading Challenge (5th Annual)

Hello 2022 and Happy New Year! While I’m very happy to see 2021 in the rearview mirror, it wasn’t a total write-off. I was able to do a little bit of traveling, including checking something off my bucket list (visiting a ghost town). Even this small return to travel lifted my spirits immensely. And, the big news for the year is that my book was published and released in September, Secret Seattle: A guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure. It’s available for purchase in all the usual locations, local bookstores, Amazon, and directly from me. Secret Seattle: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure I did a lot of reading in 2021, completing 88 books (coincidentally, the same number of books I read in 2020). There were a few long-haul flights where I got some reading done, but […]

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