The final loss of life hasn't been determined... as of the last time I talked to Elvis, he, and his grandparents, had survived the storm, though they were left with just the clothes they were wearing when the storm hit and several family members were "lost" ...though I am unclear as to whether that just means they have not been located.
But while Elvis is alive and OK, just a few scratches, the island is not. There has been a complete loss of communication to most of the island, there is no food or water, and public and government buildings have been damaged as badly as private homes, so there is literally no place for many to shelter at all.
Dominca is considered a paradise for ecotourists... the pristine waterfalls, rain forests, diving and hiking opportunities are matched only by the diverse flora and fauna... which has been Elvis's life. With a background in biology and botany, Elvis is a naturalist who has guided university students and scientists, as well as just regular folk, like you and I, around his island home.
But that is over for now. A CNN crew who flew over Dominica reported: “Nearly every tree was touched – thousands snapped and strewn across the landscape – and the island was stripped of vegetation. The rainforests appear to have vanished."
“The breadth of the destruction is staggering – intact or untouched homes are hard to find amid the chaos.”
Besides a lack of food and water, food crops have been destroyed, food animals have died and been swept away and some communities, having only generators or car batteries as a source of power, are completely cut off. Because roads are impassable, relief teams have been dropping personnel, with satellite phones, into the most remote areas to coordinate supply drops.
Fortunately, nature is resilient, she will heal herself, and offer up her bounty again more quickly than man can rebuild his abodes. In the meantime, though, Elvis, his family and neighbors are desperate for the basics.
How can you help?
There are several ways you can donate.... this is one of the best, most direct, relief efforts for Dominica... www.darda.org/hurricane-maria-relief.html
Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery
Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery is right in the Corn Belt, located in Swisher, Iowa. Not only does it have endless Iowa-grown grapes, but it also has never-ending bushels of corn straight from our fertile Midwestern soil. This ensures that there’s a personal touch to all of the wine and spirits at this place. They also age their whiskeys in a non-temperature controlled climate to make sure it tastes as natural as possible. Whether enjoying your favorite bottle of wine or some smooth dark liquor, Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery is a great place to unwind.
Located off of Fleur Drive, the Jasper Winery hosts weddings, tastings, and events. The Groben family owns the winery — they’ve been running it for almost ten years. Since everything is locally grown, their philosophy manifests itself in Iowa grapes in every bottle or glass they produce. That doesn’t mean they are behind on the times, of course — they use an innovative process to determine which grape varieties to use during fermentation and how to age the wine once it’s been barreled. Their dry wines are aged exclusively in French or American Oak casks.
This winery offers a variety of different events that allow wine lovers to explore its grounds. Choose the “VIP Tasting Tour” for a 90-minute educational tasting that will teach you how to properly taste wine while you learn about Iowa history ($15), or the “Wine and Chocolate Pairing” session to learn how to best to take your chocolate with your wine ($15). The winery also offers a Bachelorette special for bridal parties that includes your own table, five bottles of wine, two cheese plates, and chocolates to share for only $100.
Tassel Ridge Winery
The Tassel Ridge Winery offers many events aside from your traditional tasting and wine tour. Each week, they host a wine and small plates event, a wood fired pizza day, a wine and pasta night, and a series of other less regular special events. A hosted tour of the winery is free and includes a winemaking process tour as well as a tour of the grounds. Here, you’ll learn vineyard planting techniques and get a glimpse of the harvesting process, followed by the processing, fermenting, blending, and bottling of wine. If you’re with a group, you can book a ride on the Vineyard Grapemobile, an aptly named open-air trailer that will take you through the vineyard as well. It’s a great way learn all about the vineyard’s history and how to harvest grapes in Iowa’s semi-cold climate.
Fox Ridge Winery
If you’re willing to travel about forty-five minutes outside of Des Moines, the Fox Ridge Winery is one local spot you won’t want to miss. It’s located in gorgeous Northern Tama country just northwest of Traer, Iowa. Though the Fox Ridge Winery doesn’t offer tours, they make up for it in entertainment options. It’s the perfect place to go to enjoy live music on the lawn while enjoying their robust wine selection. Their wines are made exclusively from grapes from the region, and they encourage patrons to wander the grounds as they please. This is the place to go if you’re looking for a more independently led experience that allows you to choose your own itinerary.
La Vida Loca Winery
The folks at La Vida know how to tell it like it is, and their wines don’t hide behind any pretenses either. They offer four wines, each variety harvested and bottled using the freshest grapes for superior quality. Their La Vida Loca Red variety won a silver medal in the Mid-American wine competition this year. Though they don’t offer winery tours, they hold feature evenings where guests are served smoked pork loin or smoked St. Louis ribs. This more than makes up for it, especially when paired with the perfect wine. Be sure to check out their Murder Mystery Dinner nights, which involve an action-packed dinner theater experience and the opportunity to discover how loca la vida truly is.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is the home of a historic lighthouse built in 1825 and the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County. The park is popular for sunbathing, swimming and picnicing and there is more than a mile of sandy Atlantic beachfront to enjoy, Ranked of of the "Top 10 Beaches in America" by Dr. Stephen Leatherman, aka 'Dr. Beach.' Biking and kayaking are also popular activities. Fisherman can throw in their lines from the seawall for some of the best shoreline fishing in the region. Bicycles, beach chairs, and umbrellas can be rented.
Want a guided tour of the lighthouse and lighthouse keeper's cottage? They are given twice daily, Thursdays through Mondays. If you aren't prepared to bring your own picnic, you can also enjoy two restaurants, Lighthouse Café and Boater's Grill, which offers authentic Cuban cuisine.
See the amazing video DRONE footage below of the Ritz and of Bill Baggs State Park, shot by Sky High Aerial Productions. You'll feel like you're there, and you're flying...
Eating healthy is the new in!
Two life-long friends open the first gluten-free restaurant in beautiful Barcelona, Spain
...By Robin G. Coles
Sergio, my waiter, graciously excused himself and brought the chef out to discuss my options. They assured me everything is Gluten-free. “Everything is Gluten-free,” says Marta, chef of Chaitea Hausfood. She recommended the lentil burger on a bulky roll. The burger came on a flat board with grooves to collect the crumbs. The board also held four hot baked potato wedges, lettuce, tomato, vegetable and chutney. There was also a whip of avocado and one grape tomato sliced in half. To drink, they recommended a glass of Chilean La Rosa wine.
Chaitea Hausfood seats around 35 patrons. Every table has round straw mats, an aloe plant and cane chairs. Each plant has a popsicle stick in it holding a sign. Mine says “Sonrie” No Hay Excusas (Smile, there’s no excuses!). In the front, there’s a small lounge area to wait for your table or take-out. The dinner menus are pieces of white paper on clipboards with choice of either Spanish or English. Breakfast/Lunch menus are on brown cardboard.
The next day (Sunday) I was heading to Montjuic (Mountain of the Jews) and La Playa (Beach). Not sure what to expect for cafes in that area I stopped at Chaitea for take-out. Lunch was standing room only. While I waited for my order of vegetables with goat cheese, beets, tomatoes, sweet potato and radicchio, I heard a familiar accent from back home; New England. It was coming from a group of college students; 3 girls from New York, 2 of which are studying in Rome, the other one is studying in Segovia, Spain. The young man with them is a student at Penn State in PA. He was on Spring break. Another couple from Delaware was visiting their daughter who is studying a semester in Spain.
After a full day’s excursions, I ended back at Chai Tea for my final dinner in Barcelona. This was after I went to 10 different restaurants. Each one said they didn’t want to cook “sin-gluten” for me. Gabriel Monagas was my waiter. Once again, Marta came out to talk with me. She put together a chicken patty topped with carrots, eggplant and goat cheese. Salad and potato wedges on the side. Tonight’s beverage was a gluten-free Spanish beer called Durum Drum. The perfect choice to ending a long 12-day trip riding up and down the coast of Spain.
Once dinner was over I had the opportunity to talk in length with Sergio. Not only does he wait tables, he co-owns the restaurant. His partner is Gustavo Barrelo.
In Venezuela, Sergio Severino went to school to become a lawyer. Gustavo Barrelo studied to be a dentist. To work in Spain, they would have to start over again. So, they chose to live their dream and open a restaurant. “This place is like we are at home,” says Sergio. “It’s very important for us. We want people to feel good and eat in a place where they can speak with another person, eat good food; healthy food.”
Gustavo is extremely strict with the food, he’s on a diet all year. He’s never eaten McDonald’s his whole life. The restaurant is like his project from himself to the world. How he’s feeling inside because he’s very healthy.
Chef Marta Skolvronek is from Bologna, Italy. Head Chef Andres Paz is from Venezuela. He started over in Spain as a culinary student. Gabriel Monagas is also from Venezuela and works as their waiter.
They came up with the name because Sergio likes the tea and it’s a mix between Asia, Europe and Latin America. Chaitea haus food is a different language, chai is very healthy for you. Together it’s 3 continents difference. “We make new foods all the time with the tides (different),” says Sergio. “Fresher, great taste with a splash of color for fusion. People eat with their eyes. Color and fusion is important for that.”
Why sin gluten? “Because we eat all healthy foods,” Sergio says. “It’s healthy for the people and get them to start eating and thinking healthy, clean for the body and lifestyle. To have good body. They need to think of themselves – kinds of foods they eat, what is better for them, they are what they eat. They can prevent diseases by eating healthy the rest of their lives. Less sickness, cancer, diabetes, etc.”
They opened October 2016. “It was hard work,” he says. “We found this place very different so we started from zero. Everything here is new and expensive too. We’re happy with it.” Severino and Barrelo are happy that they’ve joined their family in Spain and accomplished their “plan”. They carved out the perfect niche right in Barcelona. It’s a dream come true. Plans are already in motion for their next project sometime in 2018.
More from Robin Coles:
A Breathtaking Glimpse Into a Medieval City
We left early in the morning on Saturday, Easter Eve. Driving on the Autostrada is fine, but then it is necessary to take some secondary roads. The road conditions are ok. And the scenery is wonderful no matter where you drive in Italy. I stopped for lunch at a little family owned ristorante. No one speaks English here, but I do know some Italian so “tutto era buono”, “everything was good.”
She gets the key, and grabs another umbrella, since it is still raining, and we walk across the street to the building that will be home for the night. I found out later that the building had collapsed over the years and was rebuilt using original material from the old structure.
We unpack, and are amazed at the room. Concrete base for the bed, windows overlooking the piazza, a bathroom with stone sinks and shower, and a window that penetrates the wall that has to be at least 12” thick with a piece of glass on the outside edge. The door is obviously original, and the keys are the largest room keys I have ever seen. I tell my wife to make herself comfortable and I head out to shoot some photos.
I go to the room, get my wife, and tell her of my find. Her clothing is still wet, so basically she wears her pajamas to dinner. We open the door to the restaurant and find they are not open yet, they are still setting up for the night. We ask if we can wait, and they are agreeable. We sit and enjoy the view of this old restaurant, and I notice photos of Rick Steves on the walls of the place. He obviously had dinner here too when he visited this town. We at pasta, what else, some sausage, and drank lots of wine. If you have not been to Italy, the wine is plentiful. By the glass or by the bottle is very inexpensive. And all local. Salute.
Diner is over and we make our way back to the room. By now it is dark outside. We have a small light in our room. I turn on the light and I decide to use a hair dryer to help dry out my shoes, which by now are soaked. Not long after turning it on, I trip a breaker and all the power is now off. I have to call the owner who begins to give me instructions on where the breaker box is and that I should go and reset the breaker. What a way to start the night. I do find the panel and reset the breaker. I then go back to my room and settle in for the night.
Next thing I know, church bells are ringing. I remember that the church is just across the piazza and it is Easter Morning. The bells are ringing to signify the resurrection of Christ. I also notice that the sun is finally out. I then try to use the coffee maker in our room which for some reason, either I can’ figure out or does not work. So I tell my wife, I am going out to shoot more photos in daylight, and I will find us some coffee. Little did I know, finding coffee was not going to be easy.
After walking the same streets as the night before, I find a shop keeper setting up for the day, and ask if I can get a cup of coffee. He tells me he is not a coffee shop but come back in 10-15 min and he will see what he can do. I walk through town a bit more, taking more photos, and then go back. He is ready to make me coffee and has the girl that works for him brew it for us in her coffee maker.
I bring the coffee to my wife and then we finish packing. We then begin the long trip down the ramp to the parking lot. At least the sun is shining this time, and the view of the valley is amazing. There are even people out heading up the ramp to go to Sunday services at the church. We find the car, put our bags in, and take one last look at this historical town. This was not a 5 star hotel stay, but I will never forget the experience here in Civita Di Bognoregio.
There were problems with the room, but that makes for wonderful memories. Now it’s off to Pompeii and then the Amalfi Coast.
NOTE: If you are truly a travel lover... Skyscanner is a great way to find the cheapest trips almost anywhere in the world! Don't have a destination in mind but want to see whats "out there" for cheap airfare? Just enter the airport you are leaving FROM and leave the destination and dates OPEN. Skyscanner will show you the cheapest flights for the next 3-4 months. We recently flew (2 people) from Orlando to New Orleans for $200 total for both of us. Another tip... compare round trip to simply one way flights each way... we used two airlines and saved the most that way.
First of all I’m a true supporter of the entrepreneur, and a husband and wife team, Naveen and Shaylee Dittakavi, developed this site. Naveen, a software developer and travel junkie, found it tiresome (as we all do) and almost impossible to hunt through the many travel sites out there to find the best deals, at the exact moment they are released, as they often disappear in an instant. Last year Next Vacay was developed, which automatically searches countless airfare sites, finding the best deals from your home airport (and those surrounding) which are delivered right to your inbox.
Once you are registered, their system searches multiple databases, sending emails alerting you when deals, both international and throughout the US, are found from your home airport. If a flight looks interesting, instructions to book directly with the airline are provided; which is a bonus as it’s easier to work with the airline directly in the case of cancellations or rescheduling.
Using their system, Naveen and his wife claim they were able to fly from Georgia to India for $300 each round-trip and Barcelona for $600 round-trip.
Since joining 2 weeks ago, I received a total of 5 emails most notably a flight deal from Cleveland to London for travel between early February and late March ($575 round-trip) as well as a deal from Philadelphia to Venice, Italy for travel in late March to early May ($450 round-trip). Both airports are several hours away but again, if the deal were one I couldn’t pass up, I would consider it; and these are both really low fares. The email, although automated, had that personal feel which is lacking in so many other services and they encourage users to notify them when booking a trip as they appreciate the feedback.
On the other hand if a “hard to pass up” deal were to land in my inbox there is a good chance that I would book a spontaneous weekend trip which would justify the membership fee. Also, I’ve read they plan to release more personalized options in a future version of the site, possibly allowing users to choose specific destinations. So it seems there is a lot of potential for Next Vacay as they refine their system. Being a small operation allows them the flexibility, as well as the personal connection with users, to understand their needs and to update the site accordingly.
Next Vacay is obviously not for every traveler however if you have flexibility in your destinations, travel dates, are able to travel with only a couple months notice, I’d say this site is for you!
Check out "Next Vacay" here... NextVacay.com
2. Uncover the Stairways
Seattle is hilly, and many buildings have lovely stairways. If you enjoy obscure adventures, what's better than setting out in search of steps? The quest will take you to all types of buildings and neighborhoods. Here's a MAP to get you started! Speaking of neighborhoods…
5. Go Swimming
Seattle offers many swimming options, including the fun Lake Washington, Puget Sound and indoor and outdoor pools. Be sure to check out Colman Pool, which could quite possibly be the top pool in the U.S. It's even saltwater.
6. Take Advantage of Nature
From whale watching to hiking to visits to the San Juan Islands, the Seattle area has plenty of opportunities for you to get in tune with nature; take advantage of them, especially the beaches! Once you dive into daily life, it's harder to carve out these times.
Other iconic spots include Dick's Drive-In and the Space Needle. No explanation needed for the Space Needle; it's what represents Seattle on TV. Dick's is an iconic Seattle eatery that was founded in 1954 and that has since spread to multiple locations. Best burgers around! Pike Place Market is like a farmer's market, and you can find the freshest seafood and produce there, while the Elliott Bay Waterfront offers gorgeous views of the bay and is easily accessible in downtown Seattle.
10. Meet People!
People are one of the best things about Seattle. Activities abound, including volunteer efforts, workshops, book readings, yoga classes and fitness camps, so you can find at least one thing that interests you.
Also... check out the business organizations; there are many professional groups, such as the American Marketing Association - Puget Sound Chapter, Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) and the National Property Management Association (NPMA) - Northwest Chapter.
There's a city out there waiting for you to explore it. Time to get started!
by Joe Mack
Approximately 50 miles north of New York City, there is a locale called the Hudson Valley. Some of us are lucky enough to live here. Others come for a visit. A day trip, a weekend, some stay for a week. There is long list of things to do and see up here.
who worked for him in the warehouses on the island. What were stored here were arms and munitions. This too has gardens around it. These buildings are NOT what you usually see in the Hudson Valley. Kinds of reminds me of being on the Rhine or Danube.
... by Linda Y. Walters
When it comes to having a great time, Key West, a city founded back in 1822, is an incredible mixture of excitement, sea faring exploration and most of all, one's own imagination. There's no shortage of local bars and legendary haunts to "drop in on" on any given day. Just don't try to do them all at once!
Duval Street, a hub of activity, has long been the center of Key West night life. You might want to visit The Bull, Sloppy Joe's Bar, or The Whistle Bar which has a clothing optional mantra. Captain Tony's (known for its bar stools which hang upside down from the ceiling) was also reportedly the favorite afternoon haunt of the Pulitzer and Nobel prize winning author, Ernest Hemingway. Many world reknowned persons including Tennessee Williams, former President Harry Truman and the legendary ocean treasure hunter, Mel Fisher, have contributed to the undeniable lure and history of this tiny island just 90 miles off the coast of Cuba.
Prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis, ferries and trade between Key West and Havana were a common daily occurrence. Visit Zachary Taylor Fort for an exciting look at Key West's historical past.
With local haunts like Blue Heaven, Smokin Tuna, and a liquor store named "The Lost Weekend," Key West's significant cultural allure remains in place. Even John F Kennedy is said to have visited Captain Tony's, still known for the distinction of offering its visitors the opportunity to flip coins into the mouths of groupers. Recently renovated, this undeniable landmark reopened in early November of 2016.
Mallory Square, located just a short walk off Duval Street, offers a popular stretch of beach which comes alive daily with a celebration of entertaining street performers and crafts vendors. There's also the undeniable allure of the amazing daily sunset. Thousands gather nightly to witness the splendor of watching as the sun seems to meld with the vastness of the ocean. Cameras poised, its a nightly celebration aptly named "the Sunset Walk".
"Hyatt Centric", which is a branded subdivision of Hyatt Hotels, focuses on and utilizes the specifics of its locatIon and all its inherent components," stated Braedan Quigley, Hyatt Sales & Marketing Director at Hyatts of the Caribbean.
He continued, "In Key West, for example, we focused on Cuban coffee, Ernest Hemingway's influences, and Tenessee Williams' drink specialties, in giving this location its higher demand and visibility".
The Hyatt Centric Key West offers extremely spacious bedrooms, each with a water view from your own private balcony. A sumptuous bathroom, with a generous sized shower, and the added luxury of your choice of operation including rain shower or hand held, in many ways is mindful of a spa experience minus the massage. Add the fragrant lotions and scents, and, of course, the relaxing effects of simply letting your thoughts slow down, and firmly reconnect with your inner calm.
Couples massages, called "duets", are available as well and can include full body signature massage, hot oil scalp massage , or the extremely rejuvenating footscrub.
Jala, which means "water" in Sanskrit, is really all about getting you in touch with your essential life. Explore the delightful experience of relaxation. You owe it to yourself to slow down even if it's only for one hour.
There's no shortage of imagination or deliciousness on the menu. Frozen drinks are also available and you can order from the Mojiti poolside menu which includes a great selection of salads and finger foods.
For breakfast, lunch or dinner, Shor American Seafood Grill is on property and does an amazing job of delivering five star cuisine.
The eclectic menu offers a wide array of internationally represented flavors with several choices of fresh catch, local favorites and delicately prepared side dishes you won't soon forget.
Breakfast offerings include delicious smoked salmon served on pumpernickel break with egg white, cream cheese and capers which took the dish to another level in its delivery of flavor. The Cajun Omelet was amazing and included Andouille sausage, bacon, peppers, Monterey Jack Cheese as well as several requisite Cajun spices. The menu also included the ever popular Fried Chicken and Waffles, an Island Breakfast Ceviche, Eggs Benedict and even a healthy Warm Tropical Fruit Quinoa. Freshly squeezed orange juice, good, strong Cuban coffee and an assortment of teas are also available. Lunch is available as well and includes great soups, salads sandwiches with a local flare and seafood choices as well.
The dinner menu at SHOR is nothing short of spectacular. Appetizers include everything from Charred Baby Octopus, Key West Seafood Hot Pot, Bacon Wrapped Pork Belly and/or Calamari Fries. Or choose from the Angus Prime Steak, Orange Mojo Gulf Stream Mahi Mahi, Key West Ale Braised Short Ribs, or Pan Seared Local Catch of the Day. Much of the seafood served at this distinctive dining establishment has been caught locally and is done so on a daily basis. The freshness is evident.
With an idyllic location in Old Town Key West, Hyatt Centric Key West Resort & Spa offers access to prime sites for relaxation and rejuvenation. Get out on the water, lounge on the beach, or meander through the streets of Old Town as you marvel at the historical architecture. Whether your passion is golf, snorkeling, or spa treatments, you’ll find that you can experience it all from our Key West resort, leaving you refreshed when the time comes to journey home.
#KeyWest #Hyatt #LindaWalters
TWA's Inside Scoop on your Favorite Viral Videos
After driving for about 2-3 hours, with no spottings, we decided to turn around and ...Boom! There he was, this beautiful bull, standing still and staring at us out of the woods on the side of the road.
There were two other vehicles pulled over as they were out "back country skiing," and he started licking the other pulled over truck (Moose have learned they can get salt from licking vehicles). We decided to watch from a distance. He was so unbothered and the road we were on was totally quiet and very wide. If had it been anything different we wouldn’t have stuck around, for the safety of the moose.
After a couple of minutes we were able to roll in a little closer and he knew we were there and watching him, still not caring, and more so looking at us as his next snack and very appreciative.
He then made his way over to us and I was a tad bit apprehensive because, with each step closer he took, the larger he became and it was overwhelming. Yet, he was incredibly gentle and amusing as he made his way around our car, gently bumping his dish (antlers) against our car.
About 10-15 min into his snack on our car the skiers returned to their vehicle behind us and they couldn’t believe what they were witnessing. They were about 20 meters away from us and the moose even knew they were there, taking off all their equipment and loading up their car, and the moose couldn’t care less. He was so infatuated with the salt he was getting for his diet from our car.
Had there been any aggression shown or uncomfortable nature the back country skiers would have gotten into their car for safety…as with us (we never got out of the car or unrolled the windows). Had there been any danger or aggression we wouldn’t have stuck around. We are very very respectful of the animals we live around and advocate for safe and conservation focused wildlife viewing. We are always very responsible and respectful.
We DO see a lot of disrespectful behavior from national park visitors causing “Bear Jams” which is essentially a traffic jam caused by a bear on the side of the road, and by people causing a very disruptive stir either by stopping or by getting out of their car for photos (which is SO not cool).
So yea……I’d say we were very lucky to have this moment but had the roads been busy, packed, narrow, or anything of that nature, we would have left straight away.
If you are ever in Banff, please keep your safety, and the safety of our wildlife in mind and, please, stop in to see me at the Gallery! I'd love to meet you and we are located right downtown at 201 Bear Street, Banff, Alberta, Canada. I'll give you some recommendations on some great places to eat and things to do!
UPDATE: The video and story are making their way around the globe. Scroll down to see some of our favorite ones... including in Russian and Japanese!
by Joe Mack
Thinking about the Caribbean Island of St Martin, for me, there is only one side, the French Side. I had heard about St Martin. I knew half of the island was French. I like all things French. I go regularly to Quebec City, Canada, and I have toured the South of France. Nice, St Tropez, Cannes. But that’s another story. HERE I deal with the Caribbean.
I did research before coming to the island. My wife Jaci and I are “foodies" and I discovered the town of Grand Case is considered the “Gourmet Capital of the Caribbean.” There is a good reason why. Main Street in Grand Case is called Grand Case Blvd. Here you will find some hotels and B&B’s lining the beach side of the street but, the first thing you will notice, are the number of restaurants. They adorn both sides of the street. On the ocean side, you will get the extra benefit of an ocean view while you dine. Anything in Grand Case that is along the beach is RIGHT ON THE BEACH. It is not a walk to the beach, you are right on the beach. In St Martin, as in most Caribbean islands, no beach is private, they belong to everyone.
It didn’t take long for me to stop dwelling on these buildings. And they are not the norm. As of this date, places like this are few and far between. Renovations are booming. And now, at least on the ocean side, it’s hard to find a vacant building. The rest of the town is wonderful. And the people really are friendly as the name implies, The Friendly Island.
Grand Case Blvd is narrow. Cars park on both sides. Lucky for you, on most of Grand Case Blvd there is only one way traffic, including the main part. You learn to weave in and out of parked cars as you maneuver down the street. You see people walking, in cars and in their houses. You wave, they wave. You learn the rhythm of the island very fast.
The beach is a small one. The water is shallow, warm as you might expect. There is a sandy bottom. Not really much of a surf. If you want surf, got to Orient Beach.
Oh, this was about food wasn’t it? You have your choice. French, Sea Food, Thai, Italian, Creole, Vietnamese, Indian, Japanese, Tapas and, of course, Caribbean. There is an Island Barbeque type place with traditional island food called “a Lolo”. There is one in Grand Case.
At the end of your stay. Before you pack your bags and head for the airport, you have go to “Tijon Perfumeries & Boutique”. Here you will get a lesson in making perfume. The owner is very knowledgeable about scents, and guides you thru the process of making YOUR own personal scent. You take one of these scents, one of those, one of the other. He mixes it for you. Catalogs it in his data base. YOU give it a name and the formula is saved. If and when you come back, you can have more made, the same fragrance. Or you can contact him thru a web site and re order your own special scent that NO ONE else in the world has but YOU.
Volunteer Travel has gotten so big that there are whole companies devoted to it. You can travel to build schools in poverty areas, to be an intern for an environmental project, or to donate your expertise to an NGO (non governmental organization).
Additionally, a big trend in travel today is to make an impact on an issue that one is passionate about. Some are traveling to volunteer for a nonprofit project, or to protest a social justice issue.
Kit Karzen is a photojournalist who has traveled to North Dakota to lend support to, and to document, the Water Protectors at Standing Rock.
The Oceti Sakowin Camp represents a first of its kind historic gathering of Indigenous Nations. The most recent such assembly of Tribes occurred when the Great Sioux Nation gathered before the Battle at the Little Big Horn.
While there are different facets to the Dakota Access Pipeline project, the fight is increasingly coming down to the fight between good and evil. The Indigenous People on the side of good, and protection of the environment, and the US Government on the side of evil, protecting the oil corporations and banks that are intent on pushing this unapproved project though despite the cost to human life, and the water that flows through that land. The whole history of the Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance and the struggle can be found here.
Many people have been inspired to "Stand with Standing Rock;" from celebrities and political leaders, such as Senator Bernie Sanders, to ordinary people.
Additionally, because of the mainstream media "black out" of the events that are unfolding, and the lack of ACCURATE reporting of those events, there are citizen and independent journalists who are also risking their lives to bring the truth to the people through social media and independent news outlets.
When I say "risking their lives," I'm not being hyperbolic. Already a horse has been killed, hundreds have been hospitalized, many with critical injuries. Sophia Wilansky had most of her arm blown off, muscle and tissue down to the bone (they may have saved it, though Doctors say she will have only 10-20% function in it, and it could still be lost).
Police deny it was their concussion grenade that was responsible, however Kit had this story to tell about deliberate police targeting...
"I had just gotten back to the front lines after the medics treated me for getting tear gassed...the first time. As I'm framing up a shot of the riot police lineup through my viewfinder, I hear a loud pop in the distance. The woman standing beside me, probably half my size, goes down hard. I thought she slipped on the ice (the pavement had frozen by that point due to hours of being sprayed by law enforcement's water cannon in 20 degree weather).
Another photographer asked if I was alright. I told him what happened, and he wasn't surprised. He revealed that press working alongside the 'Water Protectors' have been targeted by law enforcement since day one of the movement. They'll arrest you, "lose your memory card" in jail processing, and your story's gone. Or the quick version, try taking me out with a 40mm sponge round from a riot gun.
A cop who'd rather see me be knocked unconscious than to publish a story - I'll be honest, it shook me to my core. The only problem for him, it just validated how important this story really is. And because of that, I'll continue telling it to the best of my ability."
Other travelers heading to Standing Rock include a group of as many as 2000 Veterans, organized by Wes Clark, Jr. and timed to arrive before the "eviction date" imposed by the US Army and announced, ironically, the day after Thanksgiving (what better way to celebrate that holiday than with the US tradition of forcing the Native Americans off their land and threatening their lives?).
You would not appreciate your friends trashing your house like a rock star trashes a hotel room, would you? So of COURSE you would not do it to your friends home.
Don’t do it to their COUNTRY either!
Obey the local rules and customs, even if they are different than your own.
If you have a “no smoking” rule in your home, you certainly would not appreciate friends or relatives ignoring that rule and turning your coffee table into a giant ashtray, right?
It’s a simple thing, but guests are good guests by being sensitive to the local rules and culture, and by trying to fit into the surroundings. This one thing can greatly enhance the quality of your trip too, as the best way to do this is to ASK a local what the common courtesies or cultural norms are, and in doing so, you’ll earn their respect and make a new friend.
Treat your surroundings with respect, leave it better off. For instance, I always pick up additional trash while disposing of my own. Another way you can do this is with the American custom of a gratuity. Many service workers are paid little, and often are not tipped at all. Make their day a little brighter by flipping them a few dollars.
It’s also a safety issue to pay attention to your surroundings.
And, please, don't be like some of these other people, whose stories I read on the internet…
"Just about every beach and harbor of Cornwall (seaside touristy area of the UK) has a strict rule about NOT feeding the seagulls, with prominent signage to that effect. As a result of constant feeding by tourists, there are huge numbers of gulls, which are very aggressive and bold enough to snatch food from your hands even if you’re not aiming to feed them; they will also attack children, cats and small dogs. Their beaks are very, very sharp, and a wound from one will almost always go septic because they’re such “dirty” feeders. Yet every year you see visitors moaning and wailing (or even trying to sue the town councils) because they’ve been injured while feeding seagulls - generally whilst standing in front of a large sign saying “DO NOT FEED THE GULLS.”
Apparently tourists never see a bird a home...
"In a cafe off the Piazza in Venice a family of English speaking tourists caused an incident. My family was eating at one table, theirs at another. They were throwing bits of bread to the pigeons.
Pigeons on the Piazza San Marco are quite a thing to have to deal with, and the cafes have strict rules about feeding them. Vendors selling bird seed further toward the center of the square have taught the pigeons that presence of humans plus the presence of food equals pigeons getting food, so the birds are very bold near the open-air cafes. It's a constant battle to keep them from hopping and flying right on in.
The waiter came out and asked, very nicely, in perfect English, if they could please stop. They stared at him as if they didn't understand a word he said, and went back to tossing bread as soon as he left. Pigeons got closer and closer. Patrons looked down, startled, as they felt birds around their ankles. Others tried to shoo them off tables and chairs.
The waiter tried again, a couple more times if I remember correctly. I know the family were English speakers, because they spoke to one another every time he left. They just chose to ignore him, and you could see he was getting very frustrated. At the time I got the feeling that he didn't want to make a big deal, and kick them out, because the family had children. Each time, they stared at him blankly, but then kept tossing… I guess seeing the pigeons go after the bread was just too much fun for them to stop. At one point the waiter actually took away the bread, but the children found little rolled bits they'd dropped on their chairs and clothes and kept going.
Long story short, from there it was a very short jump to the patio being swarmed with pigeons, who perched on the tables and ruined the place settings. Spoiled the meal for everyone, especially that poor waiter."
One tourist even told a story on himself... AGAIN with the birds...
"I learned the hard way about birds and restaurants. I was in Phoenix on business and sat outside on the patio at a Mexican restaurant. My salad had those tortilla chips on it, and I saw a little sparrow a few feet away. So I tossed it one. ONE. Sparrows came from everywhere. I won’t over exaggerate the scene, but there were dozens. Fortunately, I was on the patio by myself. A couple of birds perched on the backs of chairs right next to me. I really thought they were going to dive-bomb my salad to help themselves to the tortilla chips. I covered my meal with my napkin and tried to stare them down. I don’t know who looked more stupid at that point."
Since he was alone, I’m guessing…. HIM?
"A wealthy woman from a foreign country first arrived at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport from Paris last July with her sister and adult daughter. The Customs and Border Patrol officers found undeclared items in their luggage, including designer bags, a fur coat, diamond jewelry and watches, Total value: $160,000.
The woman attempted to then bribe the customs officer offering a watch and US$10,000 if he would turn a blind eye. After the officer excused himself and put on a hidden recording device, the woman upped the stakes and offered to “sleep with” the officer if he allowed them to pass through.
She is presently out on a bail of$250,000. USD."
Probably the best thing you can do before traveling is READ up on the areas you will be visiting.
Search on Facebook for locals in that area, send a friend request and ask them if they have some tips.
Search YouTube for videos of the area so you can familiarize yourself with the local culture and customs.
All of this will make your trip go more smoothly, will allow you to make new friends around the world, AND, just as important, will help you blend in and not be a target to local petty criminals looking for a pocket to pick or a bag to swipe.
No matter where you go… just treat other people the way you would like to be treated!
Fortunately authorities got ahold of the folks at the local Audubon Center for Birds of Prey and they dispatched an eagle eyed wildlife professional to oversee the rescue effort.
One of the birds did break free and flew up into the sky, continuing to circle and watching the action from up above. The other Eagle fell into the drain where, then, it could not escape at all. Firefighters were careful to tie a rope around the heavy iron grate, before they removed it, in order to prevent it falling on the trapped symbol of America and quashing all our hopes for the future.
Then, using a net, they were able to snare the bird around the legs (the safest place to grab them as their legs are very strong), and pull it to safety.
So today… “Democracy” is recuperating at the Audubon Center and people of ALL political persuasions are pulling together as one, checking on it’s condition and sending donations to help the center with it’s work.
Central Florida is home to many native species, some, like the Bald Eagle, is also found throughout the country and North America. However some species, like the Florida Alligator, or the Manatee, are only found in the Southern States.
If you love wildlife, and are visiting Florida, there are many “once in a lifetime” opportunities to see native and endangered wildlife, sometimes in their natural habits. A few of my favorite places are…
Blue Spring State Park
Depending on the time of year, you might see just a few, or a plethora of endangered Manatees here.
The last time I visited, there were so many Manatees packed into the river by the viewing dock that you could have walked across their backs to the other side without getting your feet wet (except, of course, that would be wrong, you cannot “molest” Manatees, it’s a crime).
If you’re an animal lover, like me, you probably already make them a part of any vacation you take and, besides what I’ve mentioned here, there are literally hundreds of opportunities to enjoy wildlife in Florida. Just use Google to find something near your destination!
As far as "Democracy," the Bald Eagle, goes... sadly, she passed away from her injuries. So, while Democracy is dead, you can still visit her friends at the Audubon Birds of Prey Center and make a donation in her name and in the spirit of freedom.
NOTE: It's a small, small world. Just learned it was Yaileen's boyfriend, Tito, who saw the Bald Eagles fall from the sky and called 911. Yaileen is "our" server at Sweet Mama's
ORLANDO / WINTER PARK: The Morse Museum of American Art, located on Park Avenue in Winter Park, Florida, celebrates 75 years of offering beauty and art this year. As part of the celebration a new exhibition was officially opened to the public on Tuesday, October 18th.
This phenomenal showcase of the Morse Museum’s entire collection is solidly diverse and continues to bring beauty and continuity to its audience.
It effectively applauds many additional outstanding artifacts which have been added to an impressive array of amazing art which already make up this fascinating collection.
Founded in 1942, the Morse Museum is probably best known for its collection of Tiffany lamps and artifacts dating back to the early 1900’s. Louis Comfort Tiffany (1948 - 1933) began collecting pottery, paintings, art glass, leaded glass windows and lamps. The industrialist housed much of his art and architectural objects in his Long Island estate, “Laurelton Hall,” which included 20th century American paintings, graphics, decorative art, stained glass windows, art pottery and more.
Tiffany died in 1933 and much of the vast collection was actually sold at auction due to the original foundation’s financial instability.
The original estate, which consisted of an impressive 37,000 square foot estate home, along with majestic gardens, was set on 600 acres of Long Island’s North Shore. Sadly, Laurelton Hall burned to the ground in 1957, but much of the art collection had been sold by then.
Tiffany's granddaughter, Jeannette Genius McKean, along with her husband Hugh, founded the Morse Museum, in Winter Park, in 1942 . She and her husband, Hugh McKean developed the Morse Museum beginning with many artifacts from the estate of her late grandfather. The museum began with an unprecedented amount of works from his original estate which, over the past 50 years, have developed into an impressive array of amazingly enduring art pieces.
Available for viewing with a distinct emphasis on diversity and originality, the collection is both beautiful and contemporary without compromise.
Dr. Laurence Ruggiero, Director of the Morse Museum, stated “there is no right or wrong way to enjoy art. There are no rules and art is both sensual and intellectual before you start to talk about it.” He then added sagely, “it is more important to experience art than to ‘know’ about it because art ‘speaks’ to everyone regardless of race, sexuality or ethnicity.”
The most recent works of art to complement the Morse collection include a wonderful array of Three Face glass, iridescent carnival glass, portraits, landscape paintings, pottery and works on paper. Sixty new objects will highlight the eclectic array of artifacts presented by the McKeans over the past five decades. There are also plaster art pieces, sculptures, prints and impressive windows of stained glass.
Incredibly, “The Chapel”, created in 1893 by Louis Comfort Tiffany as a pavilion for exhibition at the 1983 Chicago World’s Fair, now sits intact at the Morse Museum. Although it was officially called "The World’s Columbian Exposition," which brought the already successful designer even more popularity both in America and abroad, its beauty and relevance still hold true. After the World’s Fair, The Chapel was reinstalled in the crypt of the newly built Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City. This breathtaking structure fell into disrepair after some ten years and Tiffany reacquired it, restored it and transported it back to his Laurelton Hall estate on Long Island.
From "My Travel in Tuscany"
Even though along the coast summer seems to still be here, with some people resting in the sun and swimming in the sea, the fall came a couple of weeks ago. If you are still uncertain of where you should be traveling during this period of the year, choosing to plan the autumn holidays in Tuscany is definitely a good idea.
There are various good reasons to choose Tuscany in autumn, even if only for a short break or a romantic escape. Together with the spring, the fall is probably the best period to visit this land loved for its relaxing atmosphere, peaceful places, culture and history.
6 good reasons to plan your Autumn Holidays in Tuscany...
In October, the weather is still mild with warm and sunny days where you only need shorts and flip-flops to walk around. In November a bit of rain should fall, but it won’t stop your will to travel. Depending on the forecasts, you can choose to explore areas with less chance of rain, as Maremma or Crete Senesi. For an overview of the climate of the region read also our post about the weather in Tuscany.
Flights, hotel rates and the cost for a room or apartment are cheaper. Taking advantage of some packages and deals, you will be able to organize your autumn holidays in Tuscany without spending a fortune, a big savings compared to the high season.
Autumn is the period of the fall foliage, and the forests of Tuscany are every bit as good as the ones in New England in the United States or in Japan. The colour of leaves turns to different shades of yellow, orange, red and brown, giving the forests a special, magic and relaxing atmosphere where the only sound you can hear is the creaking of the dry foliage under your feet. I am sure your “perfect place” is somewhere out there, between the Mugello and the Casentino areas, up to the mountains of Abetone or Monte Amiata, into the chestnut tree forests of Castagneto Carducci in the Etruscan Coast or of Lunigiana.
Being out of the peak season you can enjoy both the art cities (Florence, Pisa, Siena and Lucca) and the main villages (San Gimignano, Pienza, Montalcino and Montepulciano) without the crowds you find during the summer.
You can even get out the cities and the more "touristy" spots and head for the Tuscan Riviera. It offers you wide empty sandy beaches to walk, medieval villages overlooking the sea to explore as Populonia in the Gulf of Baratti (where you can even visit the interesting archaeological park of Baratti and Populonia) or Porto Ercole and Porto Santo Stefano in the Argentario Promontory.
Taste the fruits of the season
The indisputable ruler of the autumn holidays in Tuscany is the food. Fall is the season of truffles, mushrooms, chestnuts, olive oil, and wine. The Sagre, the traditional festivals where you can taste the fruits of our land and the exquisite recipes made with them, spring up throughout the region.
The villages of San Miniato (in the province of Pisa) and of San Giovanni d’Asso (near Siena) celebrate the white truffle every November with festivals and trade fairs. But, the best places to pick and taste chestnuts are in the areas of Mugello, Garfagnana, Casentino, Lunigiana, and Monte Amiata. In the past, chestnut was one of the main ingredients of the kitchen, especially during periods of famine. Thanks to our grandparents, who passed down to us recipes of delicious dishes made with chestnuts, we still keep alive their memories and their traditions. Do not miss tasting roasted chestnuts or traditional food made with chestnut flour as Castagnaccio (try to make it following the recipe of my Grandma), crepes (called Necci) with ricotta cheese, or the Torta di Marroni of Mugello.
November is also the time of olive oil harvest and the time to celebrate the “Vino Novello”, the first wine produced with the fruits of the grape harvest of September.
Finally, I add another suggestion to the list of reasons why you should plan an autumn holiday in Tuscany: wellness and hot springs. In case of bad weather or chilly temperature you can even think to pamper yourself with a plunge into one of the hot springs of the region. Here is our blog post where put together all the free hot springs of Tuscany.
Do you still need reasons to convince you to spend your autumn holidays in Tuscany? Let me know If you need any other information or suggestions... just send me a story idea anytime through Facebook!
Nicola lives and breathes the travel life. From Cecina, a small coastal town in the centre of Tuscany, along the Etruscan Coast, Nicola works for luxury hotels and, when he's not working, he travels himself.
Nicola spent most of his years in Cecina, on the Tyrrhenian coast, surrounded by the sea, the wine region of Bolgheri and beautiful hills with many little hamlets. As a child there was little opportunity to travel a lot, except for weekends and holidays spent at the families country house in the chestnut wood of the tiny village of Sassetta.
Once gown, Nicola started to travel with friends, or by himself, and he fell in love with travel; discovering new cultures, new ways of life and meeting new people from all over the world.
Read more from Nicola at:
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ORLANDO, FL: Got a sweet tooth or a craving for comfort food? Sweet Mama’s lives up to it’s name.
If you’re flying into Orlando, chances are you’re hungry by the time your flight lands. If it is earlier in the day you’re in luck.
Lake Nona is a community ("Medical City" is located here) just a short drive from the airport and, if you’re looking for something beyond the fast food, or chain restaurant airport fare, “Sweet Mama’s” is a great choice.
One of the first businesses to open in the Lake Nona area, “Sweet Mama’s” is a favorite of locals and visitors alike and are known for their homemake cakes and pies.
When I travel I try to seek out the “Mom & Pop” restaurants as a way to see the local culture and, after all, what’s the point of traveling if you’re just going to eat at another location of the same restaurants that are just around the corner from your home?
I had never been to Sweet Mama’s, but was visiting the local Keller Williams real estate office there at Lake Nona and Lorena, one of the Realtors, recommended it. She said they had GREAT brunches with $3 Mimosa’s (true!) but, alas, since it was a Monday, and still early in the day, we had to “settle” for lunch and no alcohol.
When we arrived we were greeted by Lisa, one of the “Sweet Mama’s” herself and we grabbed a high top table by the window.
They have both indoor, and outdoor, seating, so if it’s a beautiful day, or if you have your dog with you, you can grab an outdoor spot.
They have some kind of special almost every day, and Monday was $6 burger day… for any burger they have. I choose the mushroom, swiss, with sweet potato fries.
Our waitress, Yaileen, was super nice, and friendly, giving us a little history of Sweet Mama’s… she had been going there herself since high school, when it was in it’s first location.
There are TWO “Sweet Mama’s” ..Lisa, in the front of the house, and Linda, in the kitchen. Lisa and Linda are longtime friends who always dreamed of opening a quaint eatery. They treat their customers like family… because some of them are! When Lisa isn’t whipping up family recipes for her own Grandma’s chocolate cake or key lime pie, she’s serving it to her granddaughter.
When our lunch arrived, I have to say that they messed up my order a tad… giving me regular fries instead of the sweet potato fries. HOWEVER, even though I said it was fine, Lisa brought me out an extra order of sweet potato fries at no charge. She even made sure to tell us it was her fault, that Yaileen had put in the order correctly. Frankly, I never care if a minor mistake is make with an order... what's important is, when it does happen, that the business makes it right. THAT earns my loyalty.
My hamburger was PERFECT. I ordered it medium rare and that’s how it came… just slightly pink and juicy. My boyfriend loved his burger as well and he even saved half, plus the order of fries to take home for his dinner later.
Sweet Mama’s is ONLY open for breakfast and lunch… they close at 3 PM for dining, however they also do “Dinner to Go” (plus catering) with pick up until 6 PM, and with some delicious comfort foods on the menu… like meatloaf, fried catfish, liver and onions, chicken pot pie and chicken and waffles!
Desserts are what "Sweet Mama's is known for... homemade, fresh, delightful AND, best of all, available for you to take home for your family or special event. While they have seasonal favorites, they also have a core selection they make all the time, including...
Everyday Pies: Apple, Cherry, Blueberry, Coconut Cream, Key Lime and Peanut Butter.
Everyday Cakes: Carrot Cake, Banana Cake, Red Velvet, Grandma Mildred’s Chocolate Cake, Extreme Chocolate Cake w/Buttercream Frosting, Gluten Free Chocolate, Peanut Butter Squares AND Smores Brownies w/homemade caramel sauce
We’ve already talked about going back there for brunch to get those $3 Mimosas AND because I saw they make my FAVORITE type of Eggs Benedict… with corned beef hash instead of Canadian bacon. If you’ve never had Eggs Benedict this way you should try it. You’d think the flavors of the corned beef and hollandaise would be too intense together, but they are not… it’s amazing.
Of course, I'm already making a "mental note" to get some Extreme Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Frosting to take home.
Sweet Mama’s is just 16 minutes away from the Orlando International Airport, take the South exit out of the Airport and head East on 417 to Narcoossee Road exit, then go North just a bit. It’s on your way if you’re flying in to go to the beaches, and a bit out of the way if you’re heading for Disney, SeaWorld or the International Drive area. Regardless though, I bet you’ll find it worth your time.
My experience of a romantic weekend stay at the 4-diamond luxury Seelbach Hilton Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky – appearing on the National Register of Historical Places – can never be described as “ordinary!”
The Seelbach Hilton is equal parts historical landmark and architectural masterpiece. It began as the dream of two Bavarian brothers – Otto and Louis Seelbach – in 1869 when Louis came to Louisville to learn the hotel business.
In 1903, after several years of running restaurants and gentleman’s clubs, the brothers began construction of a new hotel at the corner of 4th and Walnut Street (now Muhammad Ali), creating a lavish, turn-of-the-century Beaux Arts Baroque hotel.
Sparing no expense, they imported marbles from all over the world, bronzes from France, hardwoods from the West Indies and Europe, linens from Ireland, and valuable Turkish and Persian Rugs.
Billed as “the only fireproof hotel in the city,” the new Seelbach opened in May of 1905 by offering a 5-hour public inspection and drawing an incredible 25,000 visitors. The hotel was so popular, the Seelbach brothers began a 154-room addition in the fall of that same year.
In 1907, the expansion was completed and included the famous Bavarian-style Rathskeller, decorated with rare Rookwood Pottery. Today the Rathskeller remains the only surviving ensemble of its kind.
In the 1920s, Prohibition contributed to the wealth of underworld kingpins who were drawn to the most glamorous spots for cards and leisure. The Seelbach certainly saw its share.
As the grandest hotel in Louisville and the center of Kentucky’s bourbon and whiskey country, The Seelbach attracted some of the most famous gangsters. Notorious figures included Lucky Luciano and Dutch Schultz – known as the “Beer Baron of the Bronx.”
The King of the Bootleggers – George Remus, a Cincinnati mobster, referred to as “King of the Bootleggers,” got rich running whiskey northward during Prohibition. As a local gangster, he would spend time at The Seelbach, for business and pleasure. Writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, who also visited The Seelbach for bourbon and cigars, was taken with the charismatic Remus. In fact, Remus became the inspiration for the title character Jay Gatsby in “The Great Gatsby.” (more)
by Michelle Valentine
"Love, Eat, Travel, TV"
Contact Michelle: info@MichelleValentine.TV
You can get your business featured on "Love, Eat, Travel" ... just email for information.
One element which has not been given much credence or attention is the very essential one of an environmentally sound planet.
Seldom are we hearing anything solid regarding the candidates’ views on this extremely pertinent issue.
A recent visit to the 49th state (Alaska) brought the environment front and center. Picture the incredibly majestic Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve with a 250 foot glacial height, and a base which is about 100 feet below sea level. The natural wildlife life here is no less impressive, with humpback whales, sea lions, Kodiak bears and innumerable fish and wildlife.
The Bald Eagle, which has a natural wingspan of seven to ten feet, is an amazing and majestic national mascot. This impressive bird lives here in Alaska abundantly but can be affected if its environment is not protected and maintained.
The rate of attrition of this natural saltwater glacier is escalating and maritime temperatures actually keep the bay from freezing over. Currently, the bay is over 1,000 feet deep and provides a unique glimpse into a majestic world of glaciers highlighted by their captivating hues of blue. Created by long wavelength colors of reds which are absorbed, the views are mindful of the sky’s intrinsic colors.
Alaska, which is often referred to as the final frontier (albeit space in many ways), offers a fantastic glimpse into both our past and the present.
Skagway, also known as the Alaska panhandle, is a former gold mining town which seems to somehow still be etched in its own history. Single story buildings are set against the backdrop of a majestic mountainous region and cruise ships, a historic railway system, and all terrain vehicles are its main transportation elements.
The White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad pass through daily encouraging tourists to relive the gold rush history created back in the 1800’s.
Juneau, the capital city of Alaska, is an amazing mix of natural beauty, majestic landscapes and an outdoor paradise for those who are adventurous.
Whale watching, glacier sightseeing, dog sledding, an incredible salmon hatchery (buoyed by the requisite export industry), and Glacier Gardens, all command your attention while giving you insight into this important element of our world landscape.
Founded in 1880, Juneau is 600 airline miles southeast of Anchorage and is the only state capital in the entire United States with absolutely no road access.
If you’ve ever witnessed the Iditarod (dog sledding at its finest) you know that it takes a lot of snow for these elegant and magnificent creatures to pull those sleds. For the past three winters, there has not been sufficient natural snow in place for this eagerly anticipated event. Snow was actually flown in from other nearby cities to provide the necessary amount; which speaks to the growing concern of global warming.
Living in Florida some thousands of miles away from the Alaskan territory allows us to push environmental issues to the fringe of our daily agendas. But when you’re right up close, with glaciers at your door and eagles flying overhead, it becomes a little more clear. Global warming is a very real and present danger.
An exciting fall lineup of events will be presented at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts over the next few months. There’s a fabulous concert line up, the first ever introduction of a popular television game show (The Price is Right) and much more.
There’s literally something for everyone with highlights for those who are particularly entranced with solid performances by talented artists.
For the full line up and ticket availability, go to Center’s website at: http://www.drphillipscenter.com or call the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts box office at 844- 513-2014.
If acrobatics is your thing, be sure to come out on Thursday, December 1 to see SHANGHAI ACROBATS, from the People’s Republic of China, as they perform “Shanghai Nights.” This incredible celebration of world music and dance will delight and enthrall your senses.
The recent winner of five Tony awards, including “Best Play,” will appeal to those of you who simply love Broadway drama. “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time” comes to the Dr. Philips Center as part of their North American Tour on November 1st through 6th.
Winner of five Outer Critics Circle Awards, including “Outstanding New Broadway Play” and the Drama League Award for “Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off Broadway Play,” this amazing production more than lives up to its intriguing title.
Tickets for The Price is Right Live go on sale on Friday, September 30 at 10:00 a.m. with prices starting at $36.50. With Contestants winning cash prizes, appliances, vacations and possibly even a new car, the excitement of this long running television game show now translates to a live experience right here in Central Florida. Open to U.S. legal resident of 18 years or older.
In its first two years of operation, the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts has surpassed its original projections in attendance as well as its schedule of amazing productions. The Center has also generously donated close to another $2 million in value to community projects, events and amenities.
Now in its third year of excellence, the Dr Phillips Center is currently looking forward to completing its fund raising element for Phase 2 of the Center which will focus on adding the 1,700 seat Steinmetz Hall. With attendance of more than 302,500 guests in the past two years and more than 330 performances by incredibly diverse theatrical companies and performing artists, the confirmed success of this amazing state of the art performance venue is golden.
My current dog is Jake, my BFF and soulmate, and he travels with me almost everywhere. Jake is an enthusiastic Labrador/Rhodesian love sponge who instantly bonded with me at Seattle Humane in August 2015. Since adopting each other, Jake and I have worked on basic commands, and he has blossomed into a well behaved, model traveler.
The good news is, if you have the will to travel with or transport your pet by air, there’s a way! The options available to you depend on several factors, such as the costs you are willing to pay, the personality, training and size of your pet, and whether you meet federal guidelines involving physiological, psychological, or emotional disabilities.
Your pet can fly with one or more of these options: as (1) a carry-on pet, (2) checked baggage or cargo, or (3) a service dog or emotional support animal (ESA). CLICK HERE to see the costs and conditions involved in each of these three categories on the major airlines in the continental US. Service dogs and ESAs ride free on all airlines.
Carry On Pets...
If your pet is a small dog or cat, you have the most options when it comes to air travel. That’s because all airlines allow in-cabin travel with a small dog or cat in a carrier for a small fee of between $95 and $125 on one-way travel in the continental US. To qualify for carry-on, your pet must be small enough to fit comfortably inside a carrier no larger than 18.5” long x 8.5” high x 13.5” wide, and must remain in the carrier underneath the seat in front of you for the full duration of your flight. Southwest sells a soft-sided carry-on carrier that you can purchase online or at the ticket counter for $58. Many carriers have breed restrictions and require advance arrangements, so be sure to research the individual circumstances applicable to your pet and airline when planning your travel.
Alaska Airlines has the simplest policies and least expensive fees, and will allow you to check any size dog as baggage in a carrier for $100. Southwest does not allow animals to travel as cargo or checked luggage. American charges $200 for pets to ride as checked baggage. United’s PetSafe air cargo program charges for pet transportation based on weight, with rates as high as $699 for extra-large dogs to US destinations. Delta appears to charge the highest rates, with fares of more than $1000 to some destinations. As of the date of this article, Delta quoted me $592 to ship an 80 pound dog in an extra-large carrier from Spokane to New York’s JFK airport. All airlines except Alaska require advance arrangements for this service.
Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals
What’s the difference between a service animal and an emotional support animal? You need to know because airlines will ask which you are claiming if you show up to the ticket counter with a dog on a leash. The most important thing to know is that the right to travel with a service dog or ESA applies to the human rather than the animal. Applicable U.S. laws (Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Fair Housing Act, and Air Carrier Access Act) do not require either type of animal to be registered or certified. These laws entitle both service dogs and ESAs to fly in the cabin of an aircraft at no additional charge, and also to reside in housing that otherwise prohibits pets, without breed restrictions.
Service animals are restricted to dogs, and in rare cases, miniature horses (I’ve never heard of anyone attempting to travel with a service horse, so we’ll refer to service animals as service dogs). There are no species or breed restrictions for ESAs, and I’ve heard stories of people on aircraft with emotional support ducks, cats and miniature pigs, in addition to dogs.
A service dog is trained to assist an Individual with a disability that substantially limits the individual’s ability to perform a major life activity without assistance. For example, my sister has Type 1 diabetes and needs to travel with a service dog that can smell when her blood sugar is out of balance. I have a friend with epilepsy who has a dog that can sense when he is about to have a seizure. (more)
This video is by Cedric Gourret, from Guadeloupe, France of his visit and tour of Dominica with Elvis. Enjoy, and click the Vimeo link to see more videos from Cedric as well.
Dominica: Place your mouse over the photo below to begin the slideshow
Good "Medicine" for the Soul
Dawn and Steve Hendrickson are busy talent agents and the owners of Tropical Music International.
The Hendricksons live in Orlando and supply entertainment and talent all across world, as well as being wholesale distributors for Jimmy Buffett, Bob Marley, Kenny Chesney and the finest Hawaiian Artists and Steel Drum Bands.
Clients include the Ritz Carlton, Sirius Radio, the PGA, Carnival Cruise Lines, the Orlando Magic, Miami Dolphins, City Walk, and the Islands of St. Lucia, Grenada, Caymans, and the British Virgin Isles.
Learn more at: http://TropicalMusicInternational.com
Lunigiana (in Latin Lunensis Ager) is the historical region between northern Tuscany, western Emilia Romagna and eastern Liguria. It is one of my favourite territories of Tuscany. This mountainous region is crossed by the Magra river and covers an area that runs from the Tosco-Emiliano Appennines to the Mediterranean Sea.
Lunigiana today belongs in part to Tuscany and in part to Liguria. In the past Lunigiana was extended till the Versilia coastline and till the Serchio River Valley, not far from the town of Lucca.
The name Lunigiana probably comes from the devotion to the myth of the Moon (Lunae in Latin) of the ancient inhabitants of Luni, an important city at the time of Roman Empire, founded in 177 BC. That’s why Lunigiana is also considered the valley of the Moon.
History of Lunigiana
Lunigiana has a long history back to the Prehistoric Era, and the proofs of it are the famous Statue Stele. These anthropomorphic stone statues date back to the 4th– 1th millennium BC, but their function is not revealed yet.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire on 460 AD, Lunigiana has been the center of the contest between the Byzantines and Longobards, and then Franks.
The Diocese of Luni owned all the historic territory during the Middle Ages, including Versilia and La Spezia harbor (not far from Cinque Terre). This is the time in which the Via Francigena, (the combination of roads that linked Canterbury to Rome, along 1.600 Km/994 miles), gained of importance as pilgrimage route, and as military connection between Northern Europe and Mediterranean Sea.
The Obertenghi, dynasty of Longobards origin, around the year 1000, established their noble family in Lunigiana. And then, the Malaspina Family, their descendants, controlled this territory for almost two centuries.
As often happens in a family, relations between relatives were not easy, especially if hereditaries are longing the power. The Malaspina Family split their properties in two distinct branches, the Spino Fiorito (Blooming Thorn) and the Spino Secco (Dry Thorn). Thanks to the Malaspina competitiveness, in both sides of the Magra River Valley many villages have been fortified and many castles built. Lots of them are still existing. The only independent city was Pontremoli, which was an important trade center.
After decades of fights, in 1306 on Castelnuovo Magra, an armistice have been signed, between Malaspina and the earl-bishop of Luni. The legend says that, as solicitor of the Malaspina, the nowadays famous poet Dante Alighieri exiled from Florence since the beginning of fourteenth century, signed the treaty.
After the decline of the Malaspina family, Lunigiana became the center of the interest of the main powerful cities, as Florence, Genova and Milan.
In 1797 Napoleon abolished the feudal system, but the actual administrative division went just with the Unification of Italy. Nowadays of the historical Lunigiana does not exist anymore, and the territory has been divided in two different region Tuscany and Liguria.
From Carrara, a small town in the northern coast of Tuscany, Edoardo has worked for more than 10 years in marketing and communications for some of the largest international conglomerates and luxury brands.
Lucky to be raised in a family that traveled, Eduardo has continued with his passion, traveling through Australia, United States and Europe and coming in contact with many people of different cultures, learning the way they live and their customs. Eduardo has friends all over the world and has even hosted some at his home, going with them and discovering the best places of his native land, which is located at a crossroads of different regional cultures between Tuscany, Liguria and Emilia Romagna.
Tuscany has to much to offer: culture, art, food and wine, entertainment, nature and relaxation, all set in a timeless Italian landscape.
Eduardo feels that "experiencing Tuscany” is something more than visiting the well known tuscan cities, eating some pasta, or greeting someone with a “Ciao." It means to know aspects of the Tuscan life in its environment, it means to live life as a local.
Eduardo will lead you on a virtual journey through villages and cities that are worth a visit at least once in your life.
Are you ready to enjoy the taste of Tuscany?
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