Weekend Getaway In Iceland - Lava Rocks, Icelandic Yogurt and a Rainbow

Let me guess what you’re thinking: “Why did you want to go to Iceland? Isn’t it cold there? Where is Iceland? Does anyone live in Iceland? Isn’t that a long way to travel for a weekend getaway? What’s in Iceland?” More »

Tourist Destinations and the Jazz Festival: The Best of Both Worlds

Everybody’s got a favorite vacation. It could be a trip to the Florida Keys to reel in big game fish. It might be that once-in-a-lifetime cross country trip or an annual Caribbean cruise.. More »

Autumn Leaves from Coast to Coast

When the seasons, the weather and the leaves change, the leaf-peepers come out to play. They head for the hills, valleys and forests to view autumn foliage in all its colorful splendor. More »

American History, The Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation

The United States Colored Troops on their \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"Glorious March to Liberty!\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" More »

A Day at the Renaissance Faire-Knights, Pirates, Lords and Ladies

Cheer for the knights as they joust before the Court and compete for the title of greatest knight in the Kingdom. More »

Halloween, Hurricane Sandy and the “Frankenstorm”

Savannah, Georgia is the perfect city for seekers of the spirits. Board the Trolley of the Doomed for a “Frightseeing Tour” through graveyards and haunted houses. More »


Key West – Close to Perfect

Sopers Hole Original 300x243 Key West   Close to PerfectKey West – Far From Normal, Close to Perfect. I love this  commercial! Every year, especially in the dead of  a January winter  I wait for it to show up.  Images of  palm trees, sherbert colored cottages. magnificent sunsets,Key Lime pie and conch fritters are  a balm to my sun-starved soul. As far as I’m concerned, sight unseen, Key West is more than perfect.Fellow travelers who know of my love affair with the tropics insist  that Key West  is as close to the Caribbean as I can get in the continental United States. This spring, thanks to an unexpected invitation (it happens a lot) I’ll find out first hand.
My first visit to the Conch Republic won’t the four or five day vacation I originally dreamed of, planned and even paid for a few years ago. It was to have been a  leisurely drive (a ride, more accurately) beginning in  Miami. Then we’d travel  the Overseas Highway through Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon and Big Pine down to Key West. This trip, however, will be courtesy of a Carnival cruise,  but I’m not worried. Even if the cruise line has to hire a team of world-class rowers, trail a barge of port-a-potties on one side and a small ship of chefs on the other, this ship will sail through the Gulf of Mexico without incident.
Those few  hours on shore will be a preview, a mini-familiarization trip, and the sightseeing  equivalent of speed-dating.  I’ll pay homage to the master treasure hunter himself  with a quick trip  through the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. Among its many treasures, the museum houses “The Last Slave Ship” and  artifacts from the Henrietta Marie, a ship that went down off the Florida coast after the sale of 190 Africans on the island of Jamaica. There will be time for picture-taking. Those of you who know me well are nodding right now.  You’ve proven your friendship many times over by pulling over next to cornfields, driving down country roads or stopping dead center of a bridge for me to capture that perfect shot.(I wish the perfect shot I’ve included in this post was authentically Key West, but this is  Soper’s Hole on the British Virgin  island of Tortola. Since I only use my own photos, it was as “close to perfectly” Key West as I could get.:) I’ll find my way over to the Bahama Village and take in a few blocks of Duval Street . No trip to Key West, no matter how brief, would be complete without a meal of conch fritters, key lime pie and .a cold beer, looking out over the water route to the Caribbean.

Next time I’ll stay in one of those uniquely Key West  bed and breakfasts attached to a beautiful garden. I know I’ll walk in and out of shops and galleries the entire length of Duval Street. There might be a boat ride in my future trip to the Keys. Without question my camera and I will witness each sunrise and especially the sunsets from Mallory Square. As far as Key West food, I’ll repeat my performance from every island I’ve visited. That means indulge, explore, enjoy. I do know that there will be conch – every day.  Who knows? By the time the week is over I just might pass the test and take the oath of citizenship in the Conch Republic of Key West.

Abraham Lincoln, Steven Spielberg and Gettysburg

To the delight of Civil War buffs, lovers of history and good movies, Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln will open in wide release on November 16, 2012. The movie chronicles Abraham Lincoln’s push to end the Civil War, to preserve the Union and to abolish the institution of slavery. Lincoln boasts an all-star cast with Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln, Sally Fields as Mary Todd Lincoln and Tommy Lee Jones as Radical Republican Thaddeus Stevens.

On November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldier’s National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Lincoln delivered what became known as the Gettysburg Address. On November 19, 1946, the anniversary of Lincoln’s speech was designated “Dedication Day” by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. November 19, 2012 marks the 149th anniversary of that iconic speech. This year, three days after Lincoln’s release in theaters across the country, director Steven Spielberg will deliver the Dedication Day keynote address. The event begins with a wreath-laying ceremony at 9:30 a.m.

.Spielberg’s speech is one of many events scheduled to commemorate Lincoln’s address and the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery.

Remembrance Day

A parade of Civil War groups and re-enactors will march through Gettysburg to the Grand Army of the Republic Monument in honor of Union Army soldiers.

November 17, 2012, 1:00 pm

The Luminaria

Candles will be placed on the graves in the Civil War section of the Soldiers` National Cemetery at Gettysburg.

November 17, 2012 – 5:30-9:30 pm

 US Colored Troops Graveside Salute

In honor of their service

November 19, 2012 – 10:30 am

For more information on the commemorative ceremonies, click Schedule of Events

Halloween, Hurricane Sandy and the “Frankenstorm”

Savannah, Georgia is the perfect city for seekers of the spirits. Board the Trolley of the Doomed for a “Frightseeing Tour” on River Street and through the city's graveyards and haunted houses.

Jazz and Chicago – First Class Sounds in the Second City

It's called The Second City, but Chicago boasts a first-class jazz scene. If you love the sound and you're in Chicago, check these recommendations. They're straight from a jazz-loving citizen of Chicagoland.

The United States Sailboat Show – Dreams in the Seaport City of Annapolis

This was the United States Sailboat Show - the big daddy of all sailboat shows. Call it Fashion Week for serious boat-buyers, window shoppers and dreamers.

A Day At The Renaissance Faire – Knights, Pirates, Lords and Ladies

At the Renaissance Festival, lords and ladies of the realm stroll in splendid velvet and brocade finery alongside flamboyant characters,faeries, ladies-in-waiting, pirates, knights, tavern wenches and rogues.

American History, The Civil War and The Emancipation Proclamation

For American history buffs, 2012 is a significant year in our nation’s history. It marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and for African Americans, the "Glorious March to Liberty.." If an American history road trip is a part of your fall travel plans, consider a visit to these locations.

Autumn Leaves From Coast to Coast

When the seasons, the weather and the leaves change, the leaf-peepers come out to play. They head for the hills, valleys and forests to view autumn foliage in all its colorful splendor.

Labor Day: The Beach, Festivals and Wine Tasting Under the Stars

Labor Day Weekend-say farewell to summer at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Ocean City, Maryland, at the Chicago Jazz Festival or the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend.

Tourist Destinations and the Jazz Festival: The Best of Both Worlds

I’ve enjoyed world-class jazz in tourist destinations and exotic, romantic settings such as the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy and the Pori in Finland. My first andlong-time favorite was the Newport (Rhode Island) festival. Then it became the North Sea Jazz Festival. Now my favorite festival takes place in the magnificent city of Montreal.