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Secret Garden on the Island of Kauai

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The Hawaiian island of Kauai bears some of the most lush and vibrant surroundings in the world, which is the main reason I visit as often as possible. While the island's south shore is home to the popular and gorgeous McBride and Allerton Botanical Gardens, I wanted to share a secret about some lesser known gardens. Ones which I prefer because nobody else is there and I can make believe that they are my own secret Read More

salish lodge luxury hotel

The Relaxing Getaway You Crave

salish lodge luxury hotel

An hour east of Seattle, Washington is the luxury hotel that I have dreamed of visiting for several years since I first saw a photo of it. I've recently been traveling in the Pacific Northwest and I decided to make it happen - my relaxing getaway at the Salish Lodge was beyond everything I'd hoped for. Read on California residents.... you too Vancouverites! The Salish Lodge Located directly on top of a huge 268-foot Read More

vancouver chinese garden

Voted #1 Best City Garden – Vancouver Chinese Garden

vancouver chinese garden

Located in Vancouver's Chinatown, minutes from the hustle and bustle of downtown, is an oasis that is the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Gardens. Local residents are lucky to have such a gem nearby. Classical chinese gardens in history have been a place for reflection and escape from the outside world, and this garden is no exception.  Why Visit the Garden? Named after the first President of the China Republic, the garden was built Read More

DC3 commercial aircraft

Road Trip Visit to the Spruce Goose

DC3 commercial aircraft

I planned an unusual stop on our west coast road trip... As we headed north on the I5 in Oregon state, just about an hour south of Portland we stopped to explore The Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum.  Evergreen's mission is, "To inspire, promote and preserve aviation and space history, and honor the patriotic service of our veterans." The property covers multiple buildings filled with aircraft, exhibits and artifacts Read More

san diego estancia la jolla luxury hotel lounge seating

Spanish Hacienda Luxury Hotel in La Jolla, California

san diego estancia la jolla luxury hotel lounge seating

Spanish Hacienda style luxury hotel & spa, La Estancia La Jolla is nestled atop the coastline bluffs of La Jolla, California. I read about their gardens in several magazines so I had to check out the sprawling 10 acre property. I could try to describe the relaxing, colorful and quiet hotel grounds, but instead I'll show you.... (see below for discounts). How to Get a Discounted Rate at La Estancia La Jolla La Read More

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Kyoto’s Golden Gem: Kinkakuji Temple

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Kinkakuji, Temple of the Golden Pavilion, is a Zen Temple in the ancient Japanese city of Kyoto whose top two floors are entirely covered in gold leaf. It is designated as a National Special Historic Site and is one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto World Heritage Site. The view was perhaps the most awe-inspiring sight on my visit to Kyoto. Beyond that is an education and immersion into one of the world's best Read More

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Native American Culture at an Indian Pow Wow

Paiute-Indian-Native-Pow-Wow-Las-Vegas-bird-dance

I recently had the pleasure of experiencing Native American culture firsthand at a dance and feather-filled pow wow. This type of cultural celebration is something I love to see on my travels and share.   Native Americans from the Band of Paiutes in Nevada, Utah, Canada and their guests gathered for the 25th annual Snow Mountain Indian Pow Wow in Las Vegas, Nevada. They came together to join in cultural song and dance and Read More

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The Best Dam Photos Ever – A Masterpiece

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I recently visited the ever-impressive Hoover Dam, taking some time to appreciate the vision and ingenuity it took to "Make the Desert Bloom" with the creation of the dam. The dam is only 30 miles from Las Vegas, so if you're in the area, you should visit. The dam was built by over 5000 engineers and laborers who overcame huge obstacles to achieve something so monumental. And they got it done 18 months ahead of schedule and Read More

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Well Preserved Southern Gem – Savannah’s Tybee Lighthouse

Tybee Lighthouse_Georgia_Beach

Near Savannah, Georgia is the Island of Tybee where the immaculately preserved Light Station can be explored, courtesy of their historical society. Tybee Island was named "Savannah's Beach" in 1950 and has long been a quiet getaway for residents of Savannah. The Island holds a strategic position near the mouth of the Savannah River which made it an ideal location for the lighthouse, first built in 1736. The lighthouse actually Read More

Netarts Oregon Coast Road Trip Sunset Silhouette

Coastal Oregon – The Road Less Traveled

Netarts Oregon Coast Road Trip Sunset Silhouette

West Coast Road Trip (continued)  We had reached the destination of our road trip (Portland, Oregon) and the journey home was imminent. Normally when heading home from anywhere I start thinking about all the things I need to get done back home... but not this time. Though we would be home in mere days I knew there were still exciting adventures ahead in coastal Oregon. The truth is, at every stop on this road trip I saw Read More

Portland_Oregon_Jackpot Records

Portland’s Got The Hip Tracks

Portland_Oregon_Jackpot Records

West Coast Road Trip (continued) Wandering around downtown Portland I came across the most colorful music store I've ever seen: Jackpot Records. They are an independent music store with a wide variety of new and used CDs and Vinyl Records. Some locals say it's the best in the city.  While it is somewhat small, it definitely packs a punch. They have listening kiosks where I found several things I'd never heard before. Read More

Camas Hotel Exterior

Where to Stay when Visiting Portland

Camas Hotel Exterior

West Coast Road Trip (continued) This one I had not planned. We finally arrived in Portland after over a week of road tripping from Los Angeles, and I hadn't booked a hotel assuming there would be tons of options in downtown Portland. As it happens, weekends get booked up quick leaving you stuck with only high priced rooms. Searching for other options, I came across the Camas Hotel. The description said "Romantic Read More

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Experimental Beauty – Rose Test Garden, Portland

Portland Test Rose Garden Striped Rose 2

West Coast Road Trip (continued) Portland's International Rose Test Garden is different than most other public gardens. It's primary purpose is as a testing ground for new rose varieties and it is the oldest rose testing program of it's kind in the United States. The Garden cares for over 10,000 plants of 500 varieties. For almost one hundred years, the city of Portland, Oregon is the only North American city to give an Read More

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Want to Meet a Baby Cheetah?

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West Coast Road Trip (continued) In the heart of the vast Oregon wilderness, over 600 exotic and native animals live a fully protected and free-roaming lifestyle. 'Wildlife Safari' in Winston, Oregon, with a full 600 acres of land, has dedicated themselves to the conservation, education and research of wildlife. I was very happy to get a chance on my road trip to see these animals in dedicated habitats in the beautiful Read More

Gordon House Frank Lloyd Wright_Holga

The Home Frank Lloyd Wright Designed for Middle Class America

Gordon House Frank Lloyd Wright_Holga

West Coast Road Trip (continued) Our road trip from Los Angeles to Portland Oregon continues, and I planned a visit to a home that Frank Lloyd Wright designed: The Gordon House, just one hour south of Portland. Turns out, this home was built near Wilsonville Oregon, but in 2001 some well-off folks bought the property and intended to tear it down and build their dream home. The Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy got a Read More

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The Jewel of Central Oregon – Crater Lake

Crater Lake Oregon_Road trip snow caps

West Coast Road Trip (continued)   On my road trip from Los Angeles to Portland Oregon, Crater Lake wasn't exactly on the way but I heard it was not to be missed. Never were truer words stated. Knowing nothing about Crater Lake before I got there, I truly didn't know what to expect. Traveling up 2000 feet on snowy mountains in the middle of July is the last thing I expected. I was like a giddy 6 year old seeing the Read More

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Oregon Cows are Happy Cows – West Coast Road Trip

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West Coast Road Trip (continued) Continuing in this series of a west coast road trip, we headed north and crossed the California / Oregon border, two things were completely evident:  Oregon cows are very happy cows, and  the sky is definitely different in Oregon. No question about it.  Check out the view these cows have, not to mention all the open space. So spoiled! The white of the clouds and the blue of the sky Read More

Lavender Fields at the Robert Sinskey Winery on the Silverado Trail in Napa, California.

West Coast Road Trip Begins: Napa Valley

Lavender Fields at the Robert Sinskey Winery on the Silverado Trail in Napa, California.

Lavender Fields at the Robert Sinskey Winery on the Silverado Trail in Napa, California. Recently we went on a road trip from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon and I wanted to share some of the awesome and unexpected gems along the way. The agenda was to stick to the Highway 5 North until Portland, with a detour to Crater Lake, and come back down to LA along the Pacific Coast.  First Stop: Napa, California! For Read More

Scotland Highland cow

The Breathtaking Scottish Highlands

Scotland Highland cow

I went on a 3-day trip through the Scottish Highlands called Skye High Scotland with Haggis Tours and I will never forget it. Though I tend to avoid touristy activities, it seemed like the smartest way to see the Highlands which are some of the most beautifully majestic landscapes in the world. The tour company is geared toward active young people who want to make their cash stretch far as possible. Highlights Read More

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Countryside for Londoners – Hampstead Heath

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I had the pleasure of visiting a friend in London who lives in an area called Hampstead Heath, and it was something I never expected. It's an ancient park covering 790 acres and is one of the highest points in London. It has playgrounds, running tracks, duck ponds, three public swimming ponds and impressive views of the city. Some say it is the countryside for Londoners, and it's just five miles from Trafalgar Square. They Read More