Blog Archives

15 Underrated U.S. Cities That Shouldn’t Be Missed

Here are 15 cities, full of things to do, see, and eat, that may be overlooked when you are sitting around planning a vacation or weekend getaway. And that’s a real shame, because, in the emerging pandemic travel era, these destinations may be just what the doctor ordered. We’ve included small towns from across the United States, along with larger cities that seem to get passed by (and shouldn’t). These are destinations full of outdoor activities, scenic drives, vibrant art scenes, rich history, fine dining, museums, and lots of wonderful attractions. I have a few more underrated – or perhaps merely overlooked – cities that are on my to-visit list. We recently went to San Luis Obispo, read about our stay there, and it’s possible to get to one more before the end of the year. It’s so great to […]

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Hotel Cerro: Enjoy Your Stay at This Luxury Hotel in San Luis Obispo

Situated 11 miles from the stunning Pacific Ocean coastline and in the heart of California’s Central Coast wine country, San Luis Obispo is a natural magnet for visitors to Central California. Throw in a few hundred years of history, reflected in the city’s rich and intriguing architecture, the influence of California Polytechnic State University, and a healthy Mediterranean-type climate, it’s no wonder that San Luis Obispo is often referred to as “The Happiest Place in America.” Located in the center of historic downtown San Luis Obispo, the brick-faced Hotel Cerro provides a convenient location for exploring the coast or interior of Central California. This luxury boutique hotel is a few minutes’ walk from many of the attractions of the city – trendy bars and restaurants – along with boutiques and gift shops that provide all the retail therapy you need. […]

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Secret Seattle Now Available

Secret Seattle: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure is almost ready to fly on the press. It is available for pre-order on Amazon (here) and from the publisher, Reedy Press, here. The official release date is September 15th, 2021, and shortly after that, it will be available directly from me and on the Secret Seattle website. This is my first book. I wrote it in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. What a crazy idea, as closure and lockdown policies seem to change almost daily. The secrets in this book were rewritten many times as beloved businesses went out of business or pivoted in ways that didn’t work for the book. And now that it’s set for release, it seems like things are changing rapidly once again. Although it was a crazy idea, I’m so very glad that […]

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More Than 25 of the Best Books Set in Washington State

We’ve narrowed this reading list down to some of the best books set in Washington State. These books will help you better appreciate not only the notable locations in Washington State but also some of its smaller cities, towns, and neighborhoods. Those of us who live in Washington State tend to take our home state for granted. It’s the birthplace of global corporations like Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, UPS, Starbucks, and more. Washington State produces more than half of the nation’s apples. We have national parks, mountains, forests, water, with incredible bio-diversity. And the people who live here are richly diverse in background and culture. But wait – there’s more. Washington State makes regular appearances in books that make the best-selling and best-of lists. Seattle, the Olympic National Park, Puget Sound, and Mount Rainier are just some of the locales that appear […]

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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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2020: A Year of Non(Travel) in Review

2020 will be known as the year that I didn’t travel. At least not much. Although I had a couple of trips in January and February, before the Coronavirus kicked us all to the curb, I checked nothing off my bucket list. I had several trips planned to check off a few of the items, including a trip to Egypt and a Nile cruise, and two European cruises, so now I’m just hoping travel will be safe again in the second half of 2021. Instead, I worked on business stuff, including cleaning up some themes on my smaller sites, worked on my Pinterest strategy and tactics, launched a new site (although the pandemic meant it’s a very, very slow launch) – My Listly, binged a lot of television and movies, read a lot of books, hosted some virtual wine tastings […]

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Wine with MJ: Virtual Wine Tasting with Wilson Creek Winery, Temecula

This virtual wine tasting features Mick Wilson, co-owner of Wilson Creek Winery in Temecula, California. It’s a continuation of our celebration of the wineries in the Temecula Valley. What makes a great wine tasting for us, is learning something along with trying wines that are unfamiliar to us. That’s just what wine tasting with Wilson Creek Winery did – Mick Wilson hit it out of the park with his fun discussion style, useful information, and great wine. The story of how his family decided to change their lifestyle and go all-in on making wine is a feel-good moment at a time when there aren’t a lot of them. Here are some things we learned: Some educational resources for average wine consumers who want to learn more about wine: including the WSET program (Wine & Spirit Educational Trust), the Wine Folly […]

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Wine with MJ: Virtual Wine Tasting with Oak Mountain Winery, Temecula

This virtual wine tasting features Kathie Pensinger, wine educator at Oak Mountain Winery in Temecula, California. It’s our continued celebration of Temecula Valley Wine Month and we hope it entices you to discover wines from the region in southern California. I learned so much during this tasting! From learning about the wine halo in the glass, to some simple wine etiquette. From learning about the winery’s Cave (a wine cave? how fun) to tips that will help me choose wines that I’m most likely to enjoy. The evening was jam-packed with good information. Watch a replay of the live tasting below. We also have the episode available in an audio format. You can listen directly from the player below. Or, we’re also set up on the major podcast player platforms and you can listen and or subscribe to this virtual […]

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Beer Travel: How to Plan a Craft Beer Vacation

Beer. Frosty, flavorful, thirst quenching. Do you want to know more about beer travel? Would you travel for beer? Plan a craft beer vacation? Beer travel and beer vacations have become as much of a travel theme as food, wine, and wellness travel. Increasingly, destinations are promoting their craft brewing scene to entice visitors who want to drink craft beer as part of their travel experience. Whether you’re a beer aficionado and want to quaff a triple wheat in a never-been-to-before destination, want to find a guide to beer and breweries in your home town, or want to discover an emerging brewery close to home, I have some ideas to help you plan your next beer vacation. Does a craft beer vacation sound like a perfect getaway for you> Take a look at this round-up of 16 of the best […]

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Wine with MJ: Virtual Wine Tasting: Akash Winery & Vineyard, Temecula

This virtual wine tasting features Akash Patel, owner of Akash Winery & Vineyards in Temecula, California. It’s our celebration of Temecula Valley Wine Month and we hope it entices you to discover wines from the region in southern California. I loved Akash’s story of the family journey from New Mexico motel owner/operators to California winery owners – and it shows proof that visualization (having that picture on the wall of your dream) works. Watch a replay of the live tasting below: We also have the episode available in an audio format. You can listen directly from the player below. Or, we’re also set up on the major podcast player platforms and you can listen and or subscribe to this virtual wine tasting series there. We’re currently on: Apple Podcasts Spotify Google Podcasts Overcast Pocket Casts Radio Public Breaker Anchor FM […]

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